Thanks to everyone for a great session today! It's wonderful that you are so engaged, willing and so very able to discuss ideas and points of view! It's also extremely valuable to have your experiences from so many different countries around the world.
Please continue to do the assigned reading in all future sessions - to ensure our discussions are informed by the research literature.
And so we broached the exulted, fabled native speaker in applied linguistics ...
The discussion was very interesting and lively. It left me pondering over the issues you raised - like what might happen in a few decades' time if English loses its 'essence' (the assumed centrality of native speaker English) as a result of the emergence of diverse Englishes.
Of course we mustn't forget that native speaker English varies greatly - consider 'RP' and Geordie variations, for example. L1 English, at least in the spoken form, is multivaried, and everyone consciously or subconsciously modifies and adapts their language according to the setting and interlocutor.
Some of you seem to want to see ELF as a variety or language in its own right. As I argue in my 'Lingua Franca Factor' paper, I am not at all convinced of this viewpoint and I think the evidence, currently, is against it. Perhaps ELF 'styles' emerge in certain settings where certain activities are being performed repeatedly (like buying goods or taking orders by telephone - and we need research on this), but this does not lead to the conclusion the ELF in general is a code of its own, with its own rules and norms.
I was also interested in the question of what would teachers of EFL/ESL teach in terms of language models, if one really is to fully embrace the fact that English is the world's lingua franca par excellence. Until now, the only model in town is the Native Speaker 'standard' variety of American or English English. But can this really, justifiably, continue? Syllabuses and teaching materials surely have to adapt and also reflect the 'lingua franca' character of English. This does not mean we drop the native speaker models though, just that we add models to the teaching syllabus. One question here is how do we adapt the teaching materials to reflect the global/LF status of English?
I'll ponder more on whether ELF has a 'heart' in the affective sense ... maybe it's all in the eye of the beholder? (To mess around with my metaphors ...)
Is anyone reading this blog? I'm keen to hear your reactions to the above, and/or hear your views on the class today - so by all means send a comment to the blog (write in the box below)!