This chapter concerns ELF used in unequal encounters between ‘outer-circle’ immigrants and ‘expanding-circle’ immigration officials in positions of authority. Evidence from case studies shows that contact groups transfer their respective L1 typological, syntactic/semantic and pragmatic structures into their ELF variations, thus ‘authenticating’ (Widdowson 1979) English not in accordance with native-speaker norms, but through processes of individual cognitive appropriation and mutual pragmatic accommodation aimed at achieving communication. Yet, while this easily obtains in ‘equal’ encounters (Seidlhofer 2011), it proves problematic in migration encounters where unequal power distribution often justifies the officials’ unawareness of different native linguacultural identities and experiential schemata reflected in immigrants’ ‘outer-circle’ endonormative English varieties (Guido 2008, 2012). This would challenge Kachru’s (1986) theory of English varieties since, in today’s globalized world, ‘outer-circle’ varieties, once displaced from their original locations and communities of users (e.g., from former British colonies), become actual ELF variations used for intercultural communication, exactly like the officials’ ELF variations conventionally defined as ‘expanding-circle’ varieties. Fieldwork data show that officials often consider migrants’ ELF variations ‘defective’ by exonormative reference to native-speaker norms of usage, thus causing misunderstandings (i.e., in legal/forensic/medical contexts, sometimes ‘hybridized’ with inconsistent domains, like tourism and religion) often with serious political and ethical consequences.

ELF in migration

Maria Grazia Guido
2018

Abstract

This chapter concerns ELF used in unequal encounters between ‘outer-circle’ immigrants and ‘expanding-circle’ immigration officials in positions of authority. Evidence from case studies shows that contact groups transfer their respective L1 typological, syntactic/semantic and pragmatic structures into their ELF variations, thus ‘authenticating’ (Widdowson 1979) English not in accordance with native-speaker norms, but through processes of individual cognitive appropriation and mutual pragmatic accommodation aimed at achieving communication. Yet, while this easily obtains in ‘equal’ encounters (Seidlhofer 2011), it proves problematic in migration encounters where unequal power distribution often justifies the officials’ unawareness of different native linguacultural identities and experiential schemata reflected in immigrants’ ‘outer-circle’ endonormative English varieties (Guido 2008, 2012). This would challenge Kachru’s (1986) theory of English varieties since, in today’s globalized world, ‘outer-circle’ varieties, once displaced from their original locations and communities of users (e.g., from former British colonies), become actual ELF variations used for intercultural communication, exactly like the officials’ ELF variations conventionally defined as ‘expanding-circle’ varieties. Fieldwork data show that officials often consider migrants’ ELF variations ‘defective’ by exonormative reference to native-speaker norms of usage, thus causing misunderstandings (i.e., in legal/forensic/medical contexts, sometimes ‘hybridized’ with inconsistent domains, like tourism and religion) often with serious political and ethical consequences.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/416959
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