English as a Lingua Franca and English language teaching : a way forward

Chit Cheung SUNG, Lancaster University

Copyright © The Author 2013.

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I enjoyed Andrew Sewell’s recent article on ontology and ideology in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) (Sewell 2013). He argues that neither advocates nor opponents of ELF have come to terms with the complexities of English in the era of globalization. In my view, he successfully pinpoints several fallacious arguments underlying much of the ELF literature, such as the tendency for ELF researchers to essentialize and exaggerate the differences between ELF and English as a native language (ENL), thereby creating a false dichotomy between them. Yet he also suggests, as do advocates of ELF, that there is further scope for an enhanced awareness of language variation in ELT. In response to Sewell’s article, I feel that two issues still need further discussion, that is, the importance of acknowledging learner choice and the relevance of ELF research findings to classroom practice.