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Prof. Dr. Anne Pauwels: "The Challenges of Teaching a Global Lingua Franca" - October 27, 2011


1. Prof. Dr. Anne Pauwels

Prof. Dr. Pauwels is professor of sociolinguistics and dean of the faculty of languages and cultures at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her research concerns, among other things, the social and sociolinguistic aspects of language and communication. Further information can be found on Prof. Dr. Pauwels’s personal website.

2. Abstract of the Lecture

The number of people speaking English as a second language is at about 400 million at the moment, and the number of people using English as a foreign language is at about 750 million. This total number of 1.15 billion speakers of English as a second or foreign language are confronted by only 322 million native speakers of English. Therefore, the number of English communication situations, in which speakers of English as a second or foreign language are participating or communicating on their own, is increasing compared to those in which native speakers are communicating with each other or with speakers of English as a second or foreign language. In a case where a doctor, whose mother tongue is Spanish, communicates in English with her patient, who is a native speaker of Chinese, the conventions between native speaker and non-native speaker are not only absent, but might also be unsuitable for promoting the communication in English. Here, new challenges arise, with which, due to the success of English as a lingua franca, the teaching of English as a foreign language is confronted more and more: Which language norm is the most suitable within this context of Lingua Franca? Which sociocultural and pragmatic conventions are relevant and should be taken into account? Prof. Dr. Anne Pauwels aims at answering these questions from a sociolinguistic and didactical perspective in her lecture.

3. Pictures