Points of view and blind spots: ELF and SLA


e-mail: jennifer.jenkins@kcl.ac.uk


Despite far-reaching changes in the English-speaking world along with serious critiques of the traditional premises of SLA research, little has changed in the way English is taught to its second language learners. In line with mainstream SLA's view of English learners from the expanding circle as learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL), English is still taught as though the primary need of learners is to be able to communicate with its native speakers, and with the assumption that correct English is either Standard British or Standard American English. This article argues that mainstream SLA research can no longer afford to ignore the massive growth in the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), highlights the irrelevance for ELF of concepts such as interlanguage and fossilization, and explores the extent to which a number of alternative perspectives offer greater promise for ELF. It concludes by making a case for ELF as neither EFL nor (failed) native English but as occupying a legitimate third space of its own.


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