Bad news for Shakespeare?

Jennifer Jenkins digs into the complexities of English as a Lingua Franca in international universities and claims there is no such thing as too many Englishes.

With legions of non-native speakers using and re-shaping English around the globe, how do we define ‘good English’ today? Do we stick to the rules of good grammar and point a finger at any linguistic digression? Or do we reject prescriptivism on the whole and accept that, when it comes to English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) ‘anything goes’?

In her new book English as a Lingua Franca in the International University (Routledge, 8th August 2013) Jennifer Jenkins, one of the leading proponents of ELF, examines the complexities of higher education English language policy around the world, and urges HE to take stock.

With the number of international students continuing to rise sharply, says Jenkins, international universities around the world have embraced diversity and welcomed ‘ELF communities onto their campuses with open arms’.  However, little has been said on the linguistic front as native-speaker English ideology still dominates HE language policies and practices worldwide. 
This goes against the grain of ELF, which advocates the existence of a number of equally acceptable Englishes against the monolith and standardized version of English language.

So, is ELF really bad news for Shakespeare?  English is an international language and, as such, no longer the preserve of its native speakers, says Jenkins.
And what do
universities need to do to bring themselves in line linguistically with the international status they claim? Simply to realise that native-speaker language use is just one kind of reality, and one of very doubtful relevance for lingua franca contexts’.

978-0-415-68464-4 | £29.99 in paperback | August 2013

Available for interviews and media features – contact Ilaria Parodi for a review copy (details below).

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‘On reading this book, people will wonder why native English remains so entrenched as the sole standard. The author’s call for a complete change of mind-set is compelling…this is a timely and important book.’
Andy Kirkpatrick, Griffith University, Australia