Perspectives: English as a Lingua Franca and Its Implications for English Language Teaching

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Chit Cheung Matthew Sung, Lancaster University


In recent years, the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) worldwide has given rise to the question of whether English as a Native Language (ENL) norms should continue to be used in the English Language Teaching (ELT) classroom. In this paper I explore the controversial issues surrounding the implications of ELF for ELT by considering the practicalities of language teaching and learning. I argue that ELF should not be seen as in competition with ENL or as a replacement of ENL for pedagogical purposes. Instead, ENL and ELF can play different but complementary roles in ELT. Although ENL may remain as the primary model for pedagogy as a point of reference, there is a need for teachers to raise students’ awareness of ELF use in reality, including the notion of language variation in ELF and the role of English in today’s world.