ISLE 5 Conference Workshops

4. English as a Lingua Franca: Focus on Nonstandard Forms and Non-Elite Domains

Axel Bohmann & Christian Mair (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany)


Tuesday 17 July

14:30-14:45  Introduction
14:45-15:15 Sally J. Delgado - Ship English provides historical perspective on Nonstandard English as Lingua Franca
15:15-15:45 Francesco Goglia - Sociolinguistic processes in onward migration from mainland Europe to the UK
15:45-16:15 Axel Bohmann - Orienting towards German with English linguistic resources: Observations on the communicative repertoires of English-speaking asylum seekers in Germany
16:15-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-17:00 Mike Solly & Qumrul Chowdhury - The value of English as a lingua franca in economic migration: a case study of Bangladeshi migrants in the Middle East
17:00-17:30 Barbara Seidlhofer - Comments and general discussion
17:30 Closing remarks

All timings are approximate.


The position of English as the de facto global lingua franca has been uncontested for several decades. Most of the research on Global English, however, has focussed on the spread of standard varieties of the language among social elites, for example in academia and business. There has been less awareness of the parallel global spread of nonstandard forms of English. Research in this area has largely been confined to the role of the Internet and the media (Seargeant and Tagg 2011; Friedrich and Finiz de Figueiredo 2016; Montes-Alcalá 2016; Schneider 2016) and to nonstandard English in transnational pop-cultural movements (Alim 2015; Alim, Ibrahim and Pennycook, eds. 2009; Coleman 2014).

Very little attention has been paid to a phenomenon which has become practically ubiquitous in many European countries over the past few years, namely the lingua-franca use of nonstandard forms of English – often in multilingual and/or truncated repertoires – by mobile individuals in marginalised and precarious positions, such as asylum seekers and refugees. We would like the workshop to raise awareness of this research lacuna and invite contributions which explore topics such as:

  • linguistic accommodation in English-dominant lingua franca communication between African migrants and representatives of institutions in the new host societies (Guido 2012; 2008; Maryns 2016);
  • linguistic accommodation in lingua franca English and the emergence of new multilingual practices in informal communication between refugees and the resident population;
  • transfer and interference from English and heritage languages in the acquisition of the dominant languages of European host societies (Goglia 2009);
  • the entextualisation of (truncated) English lingua franca communication as evidence in legal and administrative procedures, such as asylum hearings, and the attendant issues for responsible decision-making (Jacquemet 2015; Blommaert 2009);
  • language brokering and the use of official and informal interpreters in English-based lingua franca communication (Duran 2016; Angermeyer 2016; Jacquemet 2016);
  • the relationship, and potential tension, between English and host country languages in the linguistic repertoires of immigrants to non-anglophone countries (Seargeant et al. 2017);
  • the way speakers construct and relate to their complex multilingual biographies and repertoires, specifically with regard to the role of English (Duran 2016; Busch 2015).


Alim, H. Samy. 2015. Hip hop nation language: localization and globalization. In Jennifer Bloomquist, Lisa J. Green & Sonja L. Lanehart (eds.). The Oxford handbook of African American language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 850–863. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199795390.013.49

Alim, H. Samy, Awad Ibrahim, and Alistair Pennycook (eds.). 2009. Global linguistic flows: hip hop cultures, youth identities, and the politics of language. New York: Routledge.

Blommaert, Jan. 2009. Language, asylum, and the national order. Current Anthropology 50.4: 415– 441.

Busch, Brigitta. 2015. Linguistic repertoire and Spracherleben, the lived experience of language. Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies 141.

Coleman, Julie. 2014. Understanding slang in a global context. In Julie Coleman (ed.). Global English slang: methodologies and perspectives. London & New York: Routledge. 1–14.

Duran, Chatwara Suwannamai. 2016. “I want to do things with languages”: a male Karenni refugee’s reconstructing multilingual capital. Journal of Language, Identity & Education 15.4: 216–229.

Friedrich, Patricia, and Eduardo H. Finiz de Figueiredo. 2016. The sociolinguistics of digital Englishes. London: Routledge.

Goglia, Francesco. 2009. Communicative strategies in the Italian of Igbo-Nigerian immigrants in Italy: a contact-linguistic approach. Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung 62: 224–240.

Guido, Maria Grazia. 2012. ELF authentication and accommodation strategies in crosscultural immigration encounters. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 1.2: 219–240.

Guido, Maria Grazia. 2008. English as a lingua franca in cross-cultural immigration domains. Bern: Peter Lang.

Jacquemet, Marco. 2016. Sociolinguistic superdiversity and asylum. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies 171.

Jacquemet, Marco. 2015. Asylum and superdiversity: The search for denotational accuracy during asylum hearings. Language & Communication 44: 72–81.

Maryns, Katrijn. 2017. The Belgian asylum interview: the implications of lingua franca English usage Testimony: Between History and Memory 123: 113–127.

Montes-Alcalá, Cecilia. 2016. iSwitch: Spanish-English mixing in computer-mediated communication. Journal of Language Contact 9: 23–48.

Schneider, Edgar. 2016. World Englishes on Youtube: treasure trove or nightmare? In Elena Seoane and Cristina Suárez-Gómez (eds.). World Englishes: new theoretical and methodological considerations. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 253–282.

Seargeant, Philip, Elizabeth J. Erling, Mike Solly, and Qumrul Hasan Chowdhury. The communicative needs of Bangladeshi economic migrants: the functional values of host country languages versus English as a lingua franca. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 6.1: 141–165.

Seargeant, Philip, and Caroline Tagg. 2011. English on the Internet and a ‘post-varieties’ approach to language. World Englishes 30: 496–514.

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This page last modified 11 July, 2018 by Survey Web Administrator.