Language, culture and identity through English as a Lingua Franca in Asia: notes from the field
[in special issue: Language, Culture and Identity in Asia]
Asian EFL Journal, 4, .
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This article will discuss what the concepts of language, culture and identity mean in relation to English used as a lingua franca (ELF) in Asia. It will be argued that English functions as a language of communication in Asia that should be viewed as separate from the traditional ‘native speaker’ norms. To support this, the discussion will draw on data from an ethnographic study of seven users of English in Thailand. The data suggests that English in this context is used to articulate and enact cultures and identities which are fluid, liminal and emerge in situ. This challenges existing categorisations of languages, cultures and identities; in particular, the supposedly inexorable links between a target language and target culture. Furthermore, such dynamic and emergent notions of cultures, languages and identities expressed through English have important implications for the teaching of English in Asia and other lingua franca contexts.
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