Pronunciation in English as Lingua Franca

  • David DeterdingEmail author
  • Christine Lewis
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Taking into consideration the nature of English as a lingua franca (ELF), a native-speaker model for pronunciation is no longer crucial in international English classrooms. Therefore, it is essential to reevaluate which features of pronunciation English teachers should prioritize in order to ensure that their pupils develop a high level of intelligibility in international settings. We specifically consider the usage of reduced vowels, especially [ə], that occur in the weak forms of many function words and the unstressed syllables of polysyllabic words. Through analysis of 40 1-min extracts from a corpus of interactions between speakers from Southeast Asia, we try to determine the frequency of reduced vowels, and we attempt to estimate what impact the relative absence of vowel reduction has on intelligibility. Using the same corpus, this chapter also explores some other variant pronunciations which led to misunderstandings. Finally, we conclude the chapter with a discussion about how teachers of English in ELF contexts should approach vowel reduction and how they should handle the absence of a fixed model of pronunciation in ELF-based teaching.


Pronunciation Reduced vowels Word stress Intelligibility Misunderstandings English as a lingua franca (ELF) 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universiti Brunei DarussalamGadongBrunei Darussalam

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