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English as a lingua franca: An immanent critique

O'Regan, JP; (2014) English as a lingua franca: An immanent critique. Applied Linguistics , 35 (5) pp. 533-552. 10.1093/applin/amt045. Green open access

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Abstract

Over the past 15 years or so there has developed a school of thought within English language education and applied linguistics globally which refers to the phenomenon and use of English as a lingua franca (ELF). The thinking of ELF movement researchers has placed their work at the centre of current debates about the form, function and legitimacy of the English that is used by speakers from diverse linguacultural backgrounds when they are in interaction with one another. In this article, I intervene in the arguments of the ELF movement from the perspectives of Marxism, globalization theory and poststructuralism by means of an immanent critique. This shows that in the articulation of its discourse the ELF movement reifies and hypostatizes ‘ELF’ as a seemingly stable form, that in its ideology it exhibits an idealist rationalism which blinkers it to the political economy and class stratification of English in a globalized world, and that in its theory it combines a rationalist, positivist and objectivist epistemology with a transformationalist, postmodern and poststructuralist sensibility which is both incommensurable and undertheorized.

Type: Article
Title: English as a lingua franca: An immanent critique
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/applin/amt045
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/applin/amt045
Language: English
Additional information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Applied Linguistics following peer review. The version of record, O'Regan, JP; (2014) English as a lingua franca: An immanent critique. Applied Linguistics, 35 (5) pp. 533-552, is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/applin/amt045.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475877
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