English as a Lingua Franca

Professor Peter De Costa (TESOL/TFL) recently presented a paper, “Becoming a Linguistic Cosmopolitan: The Case of a Vietnamese Designer Student Immigrant in a Singapore School,” at the 18th Annual Conference of the International Association for World Englishes in Hong Kong. The conference ran from December 6th through the 9th, and this year’s theme was “World Englishes: Contexts, Challenges and Opportunities.”

Professor De Costa has a doctoral degree in second language acquisition and taught English at a high school in Singapore before teaching ESL academic writing at the University of Wisconsin. He has graciously shared the abstract from his paper with us:

This paper reports part of a larger year-long ethnographic study which investigated the linguistic practices of five scholarship designer immigrant students from neighboring Asian countries who were enrolled in an English-medium Singapore secondary school. I focus on how the student from Vietnam, Daniella, used English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) to interact with her Singaporean interlocutors. The present study seeks to draw upon this growing body of research to provide new insights into how ELF is used among younger speakers within a high-stakes school context. Central to the analysis will be the notion of cosmopolitanism . Through an analysis of my participants’ ELF usage, the paper introduces and explicates what it means to become a linguistic cosmopolitan. Specifically, I draw on a contemporary practice-oriented understanding of language. Additionally, I argue and illustrate that linguistic cosmopolitanism can be part of a broader pedagogical agenda which emphasizes the teaching of communicative strategies  in language classes.

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