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Journal of English as a Lingua Franca

Ed. by Seidlhofer, Barbara / Dewey, Martin

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 1.25

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.397
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.123

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Figurative language and ELF: idiomaticity in cross-cultural interaction in university settings

Valeria Franceschi
Published Online: 2013-05-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2013-0004


The academic community has relied on English as its working language in official settings such as international conferences and publications for a long time. University internationalization has thus fostered the use of English as a language of international communication among students and staff, particularly in face-to-face interaction. This paper explores spoken multiparty interaction among non-native speaker students and teachers engaging in academic discourse (i.e., seminars, group work), and aims at investigating the role of idiomatic language in such settings by examining data drawn from the ELFA (English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings) and SELF (Studying in English as a Lingua Franca) corpora, compiled in Helsinki (Mauranen 2003, 2006a, 2006b, 2010; Mauranen et al. 2010). Data analysis focuses on the identification of potential ELF-distinctive patterns involving idiomatic language. The research attempts to determine whether idiomatic items appear as the pivotal elements in problemsolving sequences and to identify other idiom-related communication strategies, as well as describe the social functions they fulfill in cross-cultural academic interactions. Attention is also paid to the issues of idiomatic variation and creativity (Pitzl 2009) as well as unilateral idiomaticity (Seidlhofer 2009), that is, how figurative language may challenge the successful achievement of cross-cultural communicative acts.

Keywords: English as a Lingua Franca; academic language; idiom use; communicative strategies; cross-cultural social dynamics

About the article

Valeria Franceschi

Valeria Franceschi is a PhD student in English Studies at the University of Verona. Her academic interests include English as a lingua franca, language and the Internet, participatory culture and fan practices, phraseology, and science fiction. Her doctoral dissertation will focus on the role of English as a lingua franca in the popular fan practice known as fanfiction writing.

University of Verona

Published Online: 2013-05-09

Published in Print: 2013-03-14

Citation Information: Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 75–99, ISSN (Online) 2191-933X, ISSN (Print) 2191-9216, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2013-0004.

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© 2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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