This paper posits that teaching NNS “English as a Lingua Franca” (ELF) is superior to teaching them a preferred form of “correct” English as propounded by “English as a Native Language” (ENL).
Proponents of ENL subscribe to a parochial dogma concerning the preferability of a “standardised” or ostensibly accurate form of English (Kirkpatrick, 2006). They believe in instilling NNS these standards and denigrate pronunciation differences as mistakes rather than particularised accent conventions of a specific linguistic classification (Jenkins, 2006). This foisting of linguistic standards is tantamount to linguistic colonisation (Ishikawa, 2016; Phillipson, 1992). In contrast, ELF cherishes linguistic heterogeneity of individual speakers and respectfully celebrates non-native varieties as markers of ingenuity (Cogo, 2008). This makes ELF the superior model within English language pedagogies.
ELF is superior as it focuses on pragmatic issues of “intelligibility” (Pickering, 2006), “efficiency, relevance and economy” in ELF circumstances (Seidlhofer, 2001). Research has shown that NNS view the mastery of English through utilitarian lenses – as an avenue for one to become upwardly mobile (Muthanna & Miao, 2015) and thus prioritise practical language expertise over pedantic precision (Sharma, 2008). To instantiate, Wang (2016) illustrates empirically how Chinese speakers of English are more concerned about comprehension and “being understood” (emphasised in ELF) than adhering to standards dictated by Native speakers (ENL); the latter perceived as otiose in real-world communication.
Critics of ELF such as Saraceni (2008) harbour misconceptions about ELF. is an attempt to arbitrarily impose the procrustean bed onto World Englishes – adopt a “one-size-fits-all” model as a plausible “alternative” to ENL.
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