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Why the international school community should embrace the concept of English as an International Language (EIL). Alliance for International Education, Doha, 2012 Coreen Sears . Foundational Definitions.

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Why the international school community should embrace the concept of English as an International Language (EIL)

Alliance for International Education,

Doha, 2012 Coreen Sears

foundational definitions
Foundational Definitions
  • English as an International Language (EIL): the language of international communication
  • English as a Lingua Franca (ELF)
  • Students with more than one language in their repertoire: second language students, speakers of other languages, ELLs, EAL, ESL etc.: ‘Bilingual’ students
  • Identity: here, the presentation of self and the ascription of identity in a given social context
  • Medium-scale and small-scale research enquiries: JRIE, 2008, 2011, 2012; Multilingual Matters, 2011
  • Literature:Bahba (1994), Canagarajah (1999), Hall (1996), Kubota & Lin (2009), Luke (2009), Pennycook (1994), (1998), (2000), Phan Le Ha (2008), Phillipson, (1992), (2008) etc.
  • Professional and personal experience
the world wide use of english how it has been perceived
The world-wide use of English: how it has been perceived:

Outer circle

Inner circle

BrajKachru, (1992)

Expanding circle

  • ‘norm-providing’
  • ‘norm-developing’
  • ‘norm-dependent’


and cultural imperialism’

‘power/dominance’ paradigm

fighting back resistance and appropriation
Fighting Back: Resistance and Appropriation:
  • ‘Postcolonial theories have not taken into account sufficiently the degrees of appropriation, resistance and active reconstitution from the non-West sides, particularly the colonised’. Phan Le Ha (2008)
  • Canagarajah: ‘Much communication in English now takes place between second language speakers of English and thus becomes significant to the ways those individuals present themselves, independently of first-language speakers.’ (2002)
  • Technological media and global usage
  • ‘EIL rejects the idea of any particular variety being selected as a lingua franca for international communication. EIL emphasises that English, with its many varieties, is a language of international, and therefore intercultural, communication.’ Sharifian (2009)
the nature of english as an international language eil
The nature of English as an International Language (EIL)
  • Speakers of World Englishes need no longer be viewed through the ‘three Circles metaphor’.
  • Our notion of proficiency can be re-evaluated. ‘In a context where we have to shuffle between different varieties and communities, proficiency becomes complex: one needs to negotiate diverse varieties to facilitate communication. Canagarajah (2006)
  • We can view ‘intercultural communication’ as a core element of ‘proficiency.
  • ‘Focus in the EIL paradigm is on communication rather than on speakers’ nationality, etc. which are symbolic markers of the ‘Circles’ approach.’ Sharifian (2009)
  • Lexical and grammatical features
if you view yourself as a speaker of eil you
If you view yourself as a speaker of EIL you:
  • cease to evaluate yourself in terms of an ‘Inner Circle’ norm
  • identify yourself as a member of the world-wide community of English speakers
  • are free to negotiate empowering identity positions in English-medium contexts
  • are able to negotiate intercultural communication from a favourable position
  • can embrace all aspects of your linguistic and cultural experience within an empowering identity construct