Lingua Franca English, multilingual communities, and language acquisition

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Abstract

Firth and Wagner (1997) questioned the dichotomies nonnative versus native speaker, learner versus user, and interlanguage versus target language, which reflect a bias toward innateness, cognition, and form in language acquisition. Research on lingua franca English (LFE) not only affirms this questioning, but reveals what multilingual communities have known all along: Language learning and use succeed through performance strategies, situational resources, and social negotiations in fluid communicative contexts. Proficiency is therefore practice-based, adaptive, and emergent. These findings compel us to theorize language acquisition as multimodal, multisensory, multilateral, and, therefore, multidimensional. The previously dominant constructs such as form, cognition, and the individual are not ignored; they get redefined as hybrid, fluid, and situated in a more socially embedded, ecologically sensitive, and interactionally open model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-939
Number of pages17
JournalModern Language Journal
Volume91
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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