Trouble with English?
This chapter points out that English mother tongue speakers, particularly those who are monolingual, are often at a linguistic disadvantage in settings where English is used as a lingua franca (ELF), despite English being their native language. They lack the ability to switch into the other languages of their non-native English speaker interlocutors, but even if multilingual, they tend to be more attached to native English and less able than their non-native speaking counterparts to adjust their English in order to ensure successful transcultural communication. The chapter considers the implications of the latest thinking about ELF communication, and explores how the situation is likely to be altered as a result of Brexit, both for the nature of English beyond its mother tongue countries and for the position of native English speakers in lingua franca communication.
With thanks to Chris Duggan and EL Gazette for permission to reprint the cartoon ‘Hidden consequences’.
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