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Beyond Linguistic and Cultural Differences: When ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) Meets Telecollaboration PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Beyond Linguistic and Cultural Differences: When ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) Meets Telecollaboration. Meei-Ling Liaw English Department National Taichung University. The changing scene in the use of English world-wide.

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Beyond Linguistic and Cultural Differences: When ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) Meets Telecollaboration

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Beyond Linguistic and Cultural Differences: When ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) Meets Telecollaboration

Meei-Ling Liaw

English Department

National Taichung University


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The changing scene in the use of English world-wide

The Top Ten languages of the world  (George Weber) http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/reprints/weber/rep-weber.htm

The Top Ten languages of the world


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  • The lingua franca of the 21st Century--- English

  • the ownership of English

  • Even though people of different languages and nationalities interact in English as a lingua franca, they bring to the situation knowledge about their own country and that of others.


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The teaching of English as a lingua franca---moving away from the “norm”

  • not to conform to NS norms

  • the main objective is functional effectiveness, not formal correctness (Seidlhofer, 2008).

  • not try to mix in with NSs and approximate NS variety of English,

  • focus on understanding and being understood by other NNSs (Jenkins, 2004).

  • A new variety of English might emerge (Mauranen 2003).


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  • don’t have to strive for standard pronunciation, nor for the values and behaviors of NSs of English (Alcón Soler, 2007; Mauranen, 2003; Seidlhofer, 2001) .

  • aim at becoming successful intercultural speakers (Cook, 2001; House, 2007).

  • paradigm shift from “correctness to appropriateness, from parochial domesticity and exclusive native-speaker normal to global inclusiveness and egalitarian license to speak in ways that meet diverse local needs (Seidlhofer, 2001, p. 135).”


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The affordance of telecollaboration for ELF and intercultural learning

  • Internet-mediated intercultural communication

  • Telecollaborative projects

  • A majority of the projects has been collaboration between an NS country and an NNS country


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Some findings

  • Advantages of linking ELF speakers for intercultural CMS (Fedderholdt, 2001; Keranen and Bayyurt’s (2006)

  • Identity formation and literacy development (Lam, 2000)

  • Developed hybrid language variety (Lam, 2004; Bloch, 2004)

  • Formed “Culture Three” (Louhiala-Salminen, Charles, & Kankaanranta, 2005)

  • Flaming and ranting vs. position shifts (de Nooy, 2006)


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Motivation of the study and research questions

  • Would such linguistic–cultural heterogeneity and geographical distance interact with encounters as a communication resource and affect the nature of the internet discourse? If yes, in what ways?

  • Would the ELF participants adjust their positions during encounters to form a “culture three” or, on the contrary, offer an intercultural battle field?

  • What are the general responses of the participants to the experience of online intercultural communicating?


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Methodology--- Participants and partnerships

  • A total of 62 participants from Taiwan, France, and the U.S.


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Implementation of the project


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Data collection and analysis

  • forum entries

    • Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC2007)

  • survey conducted at the end of the project


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Findings and Discussion

Number of participants

Number of entries


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LIWC output

Sentence lengths, word lengths, and percentages of dictionary words

NOTE: Except the words per sentence category, variables expressed as a percentage of total words used.


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Uses of social process words by country by article


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Pronounce uses by country and by article


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Percentages of dictionary words by country and by article


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“Marked” or “deviant” lexis in the French and Taiwanese participants’ entries


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Type-token ratios ofwords in forum entries by country and article


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First Person pronoun uses by participants

Characteristics of “Culture Four”?!


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Who are “we”?

  • In Taiwan, we have many political campaigning wagon running all over the street before the election.

  • If we can not attend the Olympics, we also lose an opportunity to show ourselves to other countries.

  • wemusn't forget that in tomorrow's world the Chinese will be very powerful, and they musn't be our ennemies. We must try to influence them by spreading our ideas, by giving them opportunities to study and work in our countries.

  • We are expecting a baby presently - and the new one is a boy!


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  • I think we must closely consider the matter from different standpoints.

  • Well, It's my pleasure to have friends from different country.Hope we wll enjoy this kind of cultural exchange^^"~

  • I am really looking forward to exchanging thoughts on the articles that we will be reading over this semester, or any other topics that may come up.

  • Let us find out the causes that have led to such a crisis on the job market.


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46 vs.16

  • Students who stayed the entire project wrote with significantly longer sentences, used more first person plural pronouns and social process words, especially words related to friends and family.


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End of Project Survey

5- strongly agree, 1-strongly disagree


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Conclusions and implications

  • English language proficiency not a determining factor

  • Mismatch between orientations to activity

  • Fluid, flexible, hybrid variety of online ELF

  • Online ELF communication accelerates hybridization process

  • Limitation of the study


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