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English Medium Instruction in Higher Education: The Role of English as Lingua Franca

  • Jennifer JenkinsEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

It is a well-established fact that English has become the primary lingua franca of choice around the world among speakers of whom the majority are not native English speakers. And as research into the phenomenon of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has been demonstrating for over 20 years, the kinds of English used in lingua franca communication often differ from those used among native English speakers and that are (still) taught to “foreign” learners in EFL classrooms. The domain of higher education (HE) is a notable example of the spread and use of ELF: in their drive to internationalize, many universities have switched to teaching in English medium so as to recruit more students and staff from outside their national borders. The internationalization of universities is thus going hand-in-hand with “Englishization,” with university campuses paradoxically becoming increasingly linguaculturally diverse on the one hand and increasingly focused on English on the other. However, not only is English being used in myriad ways on campus, but other languages are also present, regardless of whether the setting is an Anglophone or non-Anglophone country. English medium instruction (EMI) is thus a complex phenomenon, but its (multi)lingua franca nature is as yet poorly understood and largely ignored outside ELF-oriented research into EMI. In order to address the gap, this chapter explores the research findings and their implications for making current HE language policies, both overt and covert, more relevant to the diverse uses of English and other languages on university campuses around the world.

Keywords

English as a lingua franca (ELF) English as a multilingua franca English medium instruction (EMI) Linguistic diversity Higher education (HE) International students 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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