ELFA project

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20 posts · 5,069 views

This is a research blog for the ELFA project (English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings) at the University of Helsinki. I discuss research from our group and from the field of English as lingua franca (ELF) linguistics.

Ray Carey
20 posts

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  • March 28, 2014
  • 05:57 PM
  • 88 views

Why mixing languages isn’t so bad after all

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

by Kaisa Pietikäinen You know those moments when you’re speaking English (as a lingua franca, or ELF), and all of a sudden your mind goes blank? You know the word you’re looking for, but you just can’t get it into your head. You might remember it in another language, but your brain just isn’t connecting […]... Read more »

Pietikäinen, K. (2014) ELF couples and automatic code-switching. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 3(1), 1-26. DOI: 10.1515/jelf-2014-0001  

  • November 30, 2013
  • 03:15 PM
  • 180 views

On the other side: variations in organising chunks in ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

When working with ELF data – English used as a lingua franca between second/foreign-language speakers – one of the things that stands out are slight variations in conventional chunks of language. A formulaic chunk like as a matter of fact might be realised as as the matter of fact, or you could hear now that […]... Read more »

  • October 27, 2013
  • 05:53 PM
  • 205 views

Who’s in charge of English? Uses and descriptions of ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

One of the recent topics here has been language regulation – what are the norms of English when it’s used as a lingua franca (ELF), when most of the parties in interaction aren’t native speakers of English? The only way to find out is to investigate the practices of ELF users in naturally occurring interaction, […]... Read more »

Hynninen, Niina. (2013) Language Regulation in English as a Lingua Franca: Exploring language-regulatory practices in academic spoken discourse. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. info:other/http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-8639-7

  • September 29, 2013
  • 09:19 AM
  • 163 views

WrELFA corpus progress report: 500k words

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

There’s growing interest in English as a lingua franca (ELF) research on description of written ELF. Up to now, ELF data has almost exclusively been drawn from spoken interaction, which is where a lingua franca gets used in the first place. But the use of English as a second/foreign language extends into the written mode […]... Read more »

  • August 31, 2013
  • 04:50 PM
  • 219 views

In search of wild diversity: a closer look at 3rd-person zero marking in ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

One of my most-read posts has been on the frequencies of 3rd-person singular present verb forms (he says, she says) in English spoken as a lingua franca (ELF). When looking at English used primarily between non-native speakers of English, is there a greater likelihood of finding the unmarked “zero” form of 3rd-person singular present – […]... Read more »

Cogo, A., & Dewey, M. (2006) Efficiency in ELF Communication: From Pragmatic Motives to Lexico-grammatical Innovation. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 5(2), 59-93. info:other/

  • August 18, 2013
  • 07:32 PM
  • 207 views

“I am going to looks like stupid”: language commentary & correction in spoken ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

When I introduced the PhD thesis of ELFA project member Niina Hynninen (read the intro here), I outlined some considerations for studying language regulation when English is spoken as a lingua franca (ELF). The norms of acceptable English in ELF settings are not self-evident – certainly the norms of “correctness” in relation to native-speaker standards […]... Read more »

Hynninen, Niina. (2013) Language Regulation in English as a Lingua Franca: Exploring language-regulatory practices in academic spoken discourse. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. info:other/

  • July 27, 2013
  • 03:18 PM
  • 261 views

Laughter in academic talk: Brits, Yanks & ELF compared

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

When I was earlier blogging on the frequencies of laughter in academic ELF (English as a lingua franca), I came across an article by Prof. Hilary Nesi, a compiler of the BASE corpus – the Corpus of British Academic Spoken English. She provides a qualitative analysis of the types and functions of laughter episodes in […]... Read more »

Lee, David. (2006) Humor in academic spoken discourse. NUCB Journal of Language, Culture and Communication, 8(1), 49-68. info:other/

Nesi, Hilary. (2012) Laughter in university lectures. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11(2), 79-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.jeap.2011.12.003  

  • July 18, 2013
  • 04:51 PM
  • 245 views

And so on, or something like that: vague expressions in academic ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

An important part of academic argumentation is not what you say, but how you say it. It’s one thing to make a bold claim, and another to “soften” it by adding expressions like or something like that, more or less, or in a way. These recurring chunks aren’t merely filler – they convey important interactive […]... Read more »

  • July 9, 2013
  • 03:26 PM
  • 247 views

Language regulation in academic ELF interaction

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

When English is used as a lingua franca (ELF) between second-language speakers, there is still the question of what is normative – what is acceptable English in a lingua franca setting, and in a group of speakers with diverse backgrounds, which linguistic norms can be said to shape the interaction? These are questions that go […]... Read more »

Hynninen, Niina. (2013) Language Regulation in English as a Lingua Franca: Exploring language-regulatory practices in academic spoken discourse. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. info:other/http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-8639-7

  • June 30, 2013
  • 04:50 PM
  • 321 views

In defense of good data: the question of third-person singular –s

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

In the early days of ELF research, it was sometimes claimed that English used as a lingua franca (ELF) between its second language speakers might be a separate and unique variety of English. No one seems to want to defend this claim any longer, and more emphasis is placed on the inherent complexity and fluidity […]... Read more »

Cogo, A., & Dewey, M. (2006) Efficiency in ELF Communication: From Pragmatic Motives to Lexico-grammatical Innovation. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 5(2), 59-93. info:/

  • May 31, 2013
  • 04:48 PM
  • 310 views

Research blogging as an academic genre

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

Research blogging has become an object of research in its own right, and one area of interest for linguists is research blogging as an academic genre and means for communicating scientific knowledge. ELFA project director Anna Mauranen recently published an article on this linguistic aspect of research blogging in the Nordic Journal of English Studies. […]... Read more »

Mauranen, A. (2013) Hybridism, edutainment, and doubt: Science blogging finding its feet. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 12(1), 7-36. info:/

  • May 12, 2013
  • 06:18 AM
  • 251 views

Fluent chunks 2: How to label your chunks

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

Most people recognise that we don’t speak in “sentences”. Still, speech is analysed and described using the concepts of sentence grammars, even when these writing-based systems must be bent and stretched, or vice versa – isn’t it cheating to “clean up” naturally occurring speech so it fits into a sentence grammar? In a previous post […]... Read more »

Mauranen, Anna. (2012) Linear Unit Grammar. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0707  

  • May 5, 2013
  • 06:43 AM
  • 271 views

Creativity and color in academic ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

I was recently addressing some common folk linguistic myths about English, especially the English used as a lingua franca (ELF) between its non-native speakers. One of these myths concerns “color”, or more often than not, “colour”, since it seems the British “owners” of English are the ones most preoccupied with this trait. More specifically, you [...]... Read more »

  • April 20, 2013
  • 12:53 PM
  • 249 views

Interaction and lecturing in ELF: a final look

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

We’re coming to the end of this multi-post overview of Jaana Suviniity’s PhD thesis on the role of interactive features in lectures delivered in English as a lingua franca (ELF) – when English is not a first language for the speaker or listeners. When students rated these lectures on a scale of “challenging” to “accessible”, it became apparent that a major difference between the more or less accessible lectures was the quantity of interactive features. A........ Read more »

Mauranen, Anna. (2012) Exploring ELF: Academic English Shaped by Non-native Speakers. Cambridge Applied Linguistics series. info:/

Suviniitty, Jaana. (2012) Lectures in English as a Lingua Franca: Interactional Features. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. info:other/http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-8540-6

  • April 4, 2013
  • 05:00 PM
  • 328 views

What’s so funny? More laughter in academic talk

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

Is it possible to fully experience humor when using a foreign language? This varies from person to person (you probably know someone with no sense of humor in any language), and maybe also from culture to culture. There’s a lot of culture-specific humor, so that even native speakers of the same language from different cultural [...]... Read more »

  • March 25, 2013
  • 02:36 AM
  • 318 views

Fluent chunks: an intro to Linear Unit Grammar

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

The question of how to evaluate English proficiency in lingua franca settings such as English-medium university programs has interested me for a while. One of the criticisms heard against ELF research is that it promotes an “anything goes” attitude toward English. But clearly anything does not go – at least not in high-stakes, professional contexts [...]... Read more »

Mauranen, A. (2012) Linear Unit Grammar. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0707  

Sinclair, J. McH., & Mauranen, A. (2006) Linear Unit Grammar:. Integrating speech and writing. DOI: ISBN 978 90 272 2299 2  

  • March 19, 2013
  • 05:32 PM
  • 285 views

Let’s draw some wood cells: control acts & accessible lectures in ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

When I introduced the PhD research of the newly-minted Dr. Jaana Suviniitty, I concluded with her main finding – when lectures in English as a lingua franca (ELF) were rated by students as “accessible” or “challenging”, the major difference between the lectures was the presence of interactional features. The accessible lectures which students found more [...]... Read more »

Suviniitty, Jaana. (2012) Lectures in English as a Lingua Franca: Interactional Features. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. info:/

  • March 8, 2013
  • 04:24 PM
  • 334 views

Good ELF in English-medium instruction

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

Note: this is the first in a series of posts reviewing the doctoral dissertation of Jaana Suviniitty, Lectures in English as a Lingua Franca: Interactional Features. The early posts of this blog have been dealing with the internationalisation of higher education in Finland, especially with current events in Aalto University. But Aalto’s Business School isn’t [...]... Read more »

Suviniitty, Jaana. (2012) Lectures in English as a Lingua Franca: Interactional Features. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. info:/

  • February 28, 2013
  • 05:18 AM
  • 322 views

Blogging about blogging about blogging

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

One of the base assumptions of ELF (English as Lingua Franca) research is that the English spoken between non-native speakers should be studied and understood in its own right. Lately, interest has also grown in written ELF, when English is the lingua franca of written interaction. To complement the spoken academic ELF in the ELFA [...]... Read more »

  • February 23, 2013
  • 04:44 PM
  • 265 views

Getting serious about laughter in academic talk

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

Academic discourse is serious business. Lectures are delivered, conference presentations are discussed, great thoughts hang in the air like disembodied spirits. It's not the kind of environment you'd expect to find a lot of laughter and joking. And yet, we academics can't seem to stop laughing.... Read more »

Lee, David. (2006) Humor in spoken academic discourse. NUCB journal of language culture and communication, 8(1), 49-68. info:/

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