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ELF as destination, or point of departure

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Spencer Hazel


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International organisations made up of multilingual groups of people are faced with conflicting pressures in the streamlining of communication within the workforce. The adoption of a single language such as English as a lingua franca can facilitate communication across the workplace, but this can equally privilege some members of the workforce over other, less confident speakers of English. This raises the question whether the implementation of a single language policy such as English as workplace lingua franca should be considered an end goal; or whether there are other policy models that allow for a more equal distribution of language rights in the workplace, thereby providing the grounds for wider and more equitable participation among members. This paper draws on longitudinal video data from international arts collectives – including music and theatre groups – where the workplace activities allow for multilingual practices to emerge. Although English is initially adopted as an unproblematic working language, it is later supplemented with other languages, as members explore and discover other shared linguistic resources among the cohort. This demonstrates how English used as lingua franca may serve a purpose for establishing a baseline of communication, but at the same time does not need to be maintained as sole working language in such workplaces.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hazel S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 11th International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF11)

Year of Conference: 2018

Online publication date: 07/07/2018

Acceptance date: 07/06/2018