According to the British Council in 2013, one out of four people in the entire world speak English with at least a basic level of competence. In fact, there are considerably more “non-native” English speakers in the world than “native”, and English is typically used as the common language among speakers from different first languages (Jenkins, 2009).
This growth in popularity of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) has led to the rise of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) used for intercultural communication in a variety of contexts. The ELF phenomenon has been studied extensively by scholars (Jenkins, 2007; Seidlhofer, 2004; Dewey, 2010; Mauranen, 2009) and includes analysis on specific language and pronunciation features, its use in bilingualism and teacher education, as well as its prominence in different industries, including academia, business, tourism, and more. The purpose of this course is to instruct students on the foundations and components of ELF while increasing their knowledge on how contemporary intercultural communication theories relate to ELF, as English speakers today are global citizens who have the ability to interact with people from all over the world. This will be complemented by the use of telecollaboration, or virtual language exchange, with other non-native speakers in order to experience ELF in practice and develop digital communication competencies. A secondary motivation of the course is to foster students’ critical thinking skills as they critique the presence of ELF in contemporary contexts, including government language policies, the internationalization of higher education and international conflict resolution. In analyzing ELF, students will be able to put into practice relevant theories and knowledge from other courses in their major as well, including sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, cultural studies, and applied linguistics.