English as a lingua franca in Europe: A mismatch between policy and practice

Cogo, Alessia and Jenkins, Jennifer. 2010. English as a lingua franca in Europe: A mismatch between policy and practice. European Journal of Language Policy, 2(2), pp. 271-293. ISSN 1757-6822 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this article, we argue that the European Union, in which English has over the past couple of decades become the de facto lingua franca, should acknowledge the usefulness of English in this role, and that instead of ignoring what is happening in practice, should build English into EU language policy. This, we believe, will mean coming to terms with the kinds of language forms and skills involved in the use of European ELF (English as a Lingua Franca), and a corresponding move away from outdated assumptions that European speakers of English (if they 'must' use English at all) should defer to native English norms (the kind that are taught in traditional English as a Foreign Language, or EFL, classes). We begin the article by tracing the development of ELF, focusing particularly on Europe. We go on to present the findings of an empirical research project we conducted into ELF in European communication, and to consider recently changing perceptions towards the ELF phenomenon particularly among its younger European users. We conclude with a number of implications that our article raises for EU language policy.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



English as a Lingua Franca, European ELF, language attitudes, language policy

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature



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Date Deposited:

04 Feb 2015 10:57

Last Modified:

23 Jun 2017 15:31

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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