English as a lingua franca (ELF) is a thriving field of research which has found its place in applied linguistics in the last decade. During this time we have seen an increasing number of publications and research projects on ELF, such as the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English (VOICE) and the corpus of English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings (ELFA), the foundation of annual ELF conferences and most recently the creation of a dedicated journal (Journal of English as a Lingua Franca) and an ELF book series (Developments in English as a Lingua Franca).
ELF research focuses on the use of English in intercultural situations where speakers with different linguacultural backgrounds share English as their common means of communication and as a dynamic and co-constructed linguistic resource. ELF research has been conducted on different linguistic levels, such as phonology, lexicogrammar, pragmatics and the intersections of these. In addition, studies on ELF have explored various domains, including business and academic settings, and have expanded in different dimensions of investigation, including attitudes and identity, (inter)cultural aspects and pedagogical implications.
With an increasing amount of empirical descriptions available, some of the burning questions about ELF concern applied linguistic matters of language teaching and communication training, language policy, language awareness and multilingualism. Other issues concern methodological questions, which relate to qualitative and quantitative approaches as well as to technological aspects of corpus linguistic applications. An important future development of ELF as a field in applied linguistics would seem to be furthering collaborations with researchers from different disciplines, within and outside linguistics.
It is the aim of this research network to serve as forum for debate, discussion and more extensive collaboration among researchers and applied linguists who are actively involved in ELF research. The network currently includes 75 participants (from more than 20 countries) who have various areas of expertise within ELF research. They include scholars at different stages of their careers, ranging from PhD students to very experienced academics, all of whom will help advance ELF research and applied linguistics by bringing in their different disciplinary and cultural perspectives.
If you actively involved in researching ELF and are interested in joining the network, please contact the two ELF ReN convenors, Alessia Cogo and Marie-Luise Pitzl.