Barbara Seidlhofer, Professor of English and Applied Linguistics, Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna
Countering convention: English as a lingua franca
12th S.M.A.R.T. Lecture
Monday, 27 November 2023, 6:00 pm
CeMM, large seminar room, level 8
Host: Giulio Superti-Furga, Scientific Director CeMM
Barbara Seidlhofer, Professor of English and Applied Linguistics at the University of Vienna, focuses her research and teaching on the conceptualization, description, and theoretical implications of English as a lingua franca interaction and its applied linguistic significance for ‘real world’ concerns, the nature of transcultural communication, and sociolinguistics and pragmatics more generally. She is the founding director of the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English (VOICE), recently re-released as VOICE 3.0 via a server of the Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Barbara Seidlhofer is the author of numerous publications and her books include Controversies in Applied Linguistics and Understanding English as a Lingua Franca (Oxford University Press) and Using English as a Lingua Franca in Education in Europe (as co-ed., De Gruyter). She is past editor of the International Journal of Applied Linguistics and founding and honorary editor of the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca.
With globalization, ‘English’ as we know it has expanded far beyond its use in relatively stable, closed communities and is now being used as a lingua franca to meet the basic need for an international means of communication. English as a lingua franca (ELF) has become an indispensable resource in negotiating differences between people from diverse linguacultural backgrounds engaged in high-stakes encounters at scientific conferences, business meetings and attempts at conflict resolution, as well as migration, youth culture and tourism. ELF research is primarily concerned with how this resource is used communicatively: how the 'E' must be reconceptualized to fulfil its 'LF' function. This approach, of course, challenges the conventional ways in which languages are perceived, studied and taught. It thus addresses the fundamental question of how lingual communication functions in today's globalized world, in the Anthropocene of 'Digital Humanity'.