Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics (HAAL)

3rd HAAL Research Forum

HK Polytechnic University

12 December 2009




English as an Asian Lingua Franca and the Multilingual Model of ELT


Andy Kirkpatrick




The concept of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has caused a great deal of recent controversy, much of it based on a misunderstanding of ELF. In this presentation I shall first provide a brief history of lingua francas and then compare and contrast two major Asian lingua francas – Bahasa Indonesia and Putonghua – in order to show how different their developmental paths have been.


The presentation will then consider the current role that English is playing as a lingua franca, with a particular focus on its role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia. Examples of linguistic features of English as a lingua franca in Asia will be provided. These will be contrasted with linguistic features of vernacular varieties of English, varieties of World English and European ELF.


The presentation will then consider possible implications of ELF in English language teaching, and the ‘multilingual model’ will be proposed. Suggestions on ways in which English/ regional lingua francas and local languages might work together as languages of education will conclude the presentation.


Bio data:


Andy Kirkpatrick is Chair Professor of English at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and Director of the Institute’s Research Centre into Language Education and Acquisition in Multilingual Societies.


His first degree is in Chinese Studies from Leeds and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Modern Chinese Literature from Fudan University in Shanghai, an MA in ELT and Linguistics (York, UK) and a PhD (The Australian National University) in Chinese Linguistics.


His research interests include the development of regional varieties of English and the history of Chinese rhetoric. World Englishes: implications for international communication and ELT was published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. He is currently working on a description of English as a lingua franca in ASEAN entitled, English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN: the Multilingual Model, to be published by HKUP. He is editor of Routledge’s forthcoming (2010) Handbook of World Englishes, and his book, Chinese Rhetoric and Persuasion, is to be published by the French publishing house, Klincksieck, in 2010.



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