Variazioni e negoziazioni di significato attraverso l’inglese ‘lingua franca’ in contesti migratori


Abstract – ELF used in immigration domains typically reflects the different cognitive and communicative processes as well as the power/status asymmetries involved in cross-cultural situations of unequal encounters between non-western supplicants (i.e., African immigrants and asylum seekers) and western (Italian) experts in authority. Such situations will be here explored with reference to institutional contexts where the conditions for achieving successful communication through the use of ELF variations are biased against the participants’ different native linguacultural backgrounds from which they appropriate English without conforming to native speaker norms of usage. A number of case studies will illustrate the extent to which features of ELF usages may be perceived as formally deviating and socio-pragmatically inappropriate in intercultural communication – this being due to the participants’ lack of acknowledgement of each other’s ELF variations – thus giving rise to misunderstandings that often raise social and ethical issues about inequality and social justice. More specifically, the case studies will enquire, on the one hand, into the processes by which ELF users transfer typological, textual, lexical and logical features of their native languages and cultures to the domain-specific communication they are involved in, thus affecting their pragmalinguistic behaviours and interpretative strategies, leading ultimately to communication failure. On the other hand, some case studies will enquire into possible ‘hybridization strategies’ of written reformulation aimed at making ELF discourse conceptually accessible and socio-pragmatically acceptable to immigrants and refugees involved in the interaction, by making it conform to their different native linguacultural backgrounds, with the ultimate purpose of achieving a ‘mutual accommodation’ of ELF variations in order to promote the social inclusion of marginalized immigrants as well as raise awareness among intercultural mediators operating in such situations of power asymmetry of the possible discourse strategies that can improve mutual intelligibility through ELF.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v16p47

Keywords: unequal immigration encounters; L1→ELF transfer; ELF variations; ELF accommodation; ELF hybridization strategies


Agbo M. 2009, Subject-Object switching in Igbo verbs: a revisit, in “Iranian Journal of Language Studies” 3, pp. 209-224.

American Psychiatric Association 2013, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th Edition, American Psychiatric Press, Washington, DC.

Anagbogu P.N. 1995, The Semantics of Reduplication in Igbo, in “Journal of West African Languages” 25, pp. 43-52.

Bhatia V. 1997, Introduction: Genre Analysis and World Englishes, in “World Englishes” 16, pp. 313-319.

Blommaert J. 1997, The Slow Shift in Orthodoxy: (Re)formulations of ‘Integration’ in Belgium, in Briggs C. (a cura di), Conflict and Violence in Pragmatic Research. Special issue of “Pragmatics” 7, pp. 499-518.

Brumfit C. (a cura di) 1982, English for International Communication, Pergamon, Oxford. Carrell P.L. 1970, A Transformational Grammar of Igbo, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Carrell P.L. 1983, Some Issues in the Role of Schemata, or Background Knowledge, in Second Language Comprehension, in “Reading in a Foreign Language” 1, pp. 81-92.

Corder S.P. 1981, Error Analysis and Interlanguage, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Crystal D. 2003, English as a Global Language, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Dimmendaal G.J. 2002, Colourful psi’s sleep furiously: depicting emotional states in some

African languages, in Enfield N.J. e Wierzbicka A. (a cura di), The Body in Description of Emotion: Cross-linguistic Studies. Special issue of “Pragmatics & Cognition” 10, pp. 57-83.

Dimmendaal G.J. 2011 Historical Linguistics and the Comparative Study of African Languages, Benjamin, Amsterdam.

Eckman F. 1977, Markedness and the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis, in “Language Learning” 27, pp. 315-330.

Edwards D. 1997, Discourse and Cognition, Sage, Londra.

Ericcson A.K. e Simon H.A. 1984, Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Fabunmi M.A. 1970, Yoruba Idioms, Pilgrim Books, Lagos.

Faraclas N.G. 1996, Nigerian Pidgin, Routledge, Londra.

Firth A. 1996, The Discursive Accomplishment of Normality: On ‘Lingua Franca’ English and Conversation Analysis, in “Journal of Pragmatics” 26, pp. 237-259.

Greenberg J.H. 1973, Some Universals of Grammar with Particular Reference to the Order of Meaningful Elements, in Greenberg J.H. (a cura di), Universals of Language, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 73-113.

Grice P. 1981, Presupposition and Conversational Implicature, in Cole P. (a cura di), Radical Pragmatics, Academic Press, New York, pp. 183–98.

Guido M.G. 2005, The Imaging Reader: Visualization and Embodiment of Metaphysical Discourse, Legas Publishing, New York/Ottawa/Toronto.

Guido M.G. 2008, English as a Lingua Franca in Cross-cultural Immigration Domains, Peter Lang, Berna.

Guido M.G. 2012, ELF Authentication and Accommodation Strategies in Cross-cultural Immigration Domains, in “Journal of English as a Lingua Franca” 1 [2], pp. 219-240.

Gumperz J.J. 1982, Discourse Strategies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Halliday M.A.K. 1978, Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning, Edward Arnold, Londra.

Halliday M.A.K. 1994, An Introduction to Functional Grammar, Edward Arnold, Londra.

House J. 1999, Misunderstanding in Intercultural Communication: Interactions in English as ‘Lingua Franca’ and the Myth of Mutual Intelligibility, in Gnutzmann C. (a cura di), Teaching and Learning English as a Global Language, Stauffenburg, Tubinga, pp. 73-89.

Hymes D. 1994, Ethnopoetics, Oral Formulaic Theory, and Editing Texts, in “Oral Tradition” 9 [2], pp. 330-370.

Hymes D. 1996. Ethnography, Linguistics and Narrative Inequality, Taylor Francis, Londra.

Hymes D. 2003, Now I Know Only So Far: Essays in Ethnopoetics, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.

Jenkins J. 2000, The Phonology of English as an International Language, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Jenkins J. 2007, English as a Lingua Franca: Attitude and Identity, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Kachru B. 1986, The Alchemy of English: The Spread, Functions and Models of Non-Native Englishes, Pergamon, Oxford.

Kasper G. 1992, Pragmatic Transfer, in “Second Language Research” 8, pp. 203-231.

Kaur J. 2009 English as a Lingua Franca: Co-constructing Understanding, VDM Verlag, Saarbrücken.

Knapp K. e Meierkord C. (a cura di) 2002, Lingua Franca Communication, Peter Lang, Francoforte/Main.

Lakoff, G. 1996. Moral Politics: What Conservatives Know That Liberals Don’t, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Lakoff G. e Johnson M. 1999, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought, Basic Books, New York.

Lau J. 1995, Pietroski on Possible Worlds Semantics for believe sentences, in “Analysis” 55, pp. 295-298.

Lewis D.K. 1973, Counterfactuals, Harvard University Press, Harvard.

Lewis M.P. (a cura di) 2009, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition, SIL International, Dallas, Tex.

Linde C. 1993, Life Stories: The Creation of Coherence, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Maryns K. 2006, The Asylum Speaker, St Jerome, Manchester.

Mattingly C. 1998, Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Moerman M. 1988, Talking Culture: Ethnography and Conversation Analysis, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Nwachukwu P.A. 1976, Stativity, Ergativity and the –rV Suffixes in Igbo, in “African Languages” 2, pp. 119-143.

Papa Benedetto XVI 2012, ‘Migration and the New Evangelization.’ Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. 21 September 2011, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano.

Pennycook A. 1994, The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language, Longman, Londra.

Sarangi S. e Slembrouck S. 1996, Language, Bureaucracy and Social Control, Longman, Londra.

Schiffer S. 1996, Belief ascription, in “Journal of Philosophy” 92, pp. 102-107.

Schumann J. 1978, The Acculturation Model for second language acquisition, in Gingras R. (a cura di), Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching, Center for Applied Linguistics, Arlington, VA, pp. 27-50.

Scotton C.M. 1983, The Negotiation of Identities in Conversation: A Theory of Markedness and Code Choice, in “International Journal of the Sociology of Language” 44, pp. 116-136.

Seidlhofer B. 2001, Closing a Conceptual Gap: The Case for a Description of English as a Lingua Franca, in “International Journal of Applied Linguistics” 11, pp. 133-158.

Seidlhofer B. 2004, Research Perspectives on Teaching English as a Lingua Franca, in “Annual Review of Applied Linguistics” 24, pp. 209-239.

Seidlhofer B. 2011, Understanding English as a Lingua Franca, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Selinker L. 1969, Language Transfer, in “General Linguistics” 9, pp. 67-92.

Selinker L. 1992, Rediscovering Interlanguage, Longman, Londra.

Silverstein M. 1998, Contemporary Transformations of Local Linguistic Communities, in “Annual Review of Anthropology” 27, pp. 401-426.

Sinodo dei Vescovi 2012, XIII Ordinary General Assembly. The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. Instrumentum Laboris, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano.

Stalnaker R. 1987, Semantics for belief, in “Philosophical Topics” 15, pp. 177-199.

Stalnaker R. 1994, Modality and Possible Worlds, in Jaegwon K. e Sosa E. (a cura di), Blackwell Companion to Metaphysics, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 333-337.

Stalnaker R. 2001, On considering a possible world as actual, in “Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society” 65, pp. 141-156.

Sweetser E.E. 1990, From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Talmy L. 1988, Force Dynamics in Language and Cognition, in “Cognitive Science” 2, pp. 49-100.

Thomas J.A. 1983, Cross-cultural Pragmatic Failure, in “Applied Linguistics” 4, pp. 91-112.

Trudgill P. e Hannah J. 1995, International English: A Guide to Varieties of Standard English, Edward Arnold, Londra.

Urban G. 1996, Entextualization, Replication and Power, in Silverstein M. e Urban G. (a cura di), Natural Histories of Discourse, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 21-44.

Widdowson H.G. 1979, Explorations in Applied Linguistics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Widdowson H.G. 1991, Types of Equivalence, in “Triangle 10. Special Issue: The Role of Translation in Foreign Language Teaching”, Diffusion Didier Erudition, Parigi, pp. 153-165.

Widdowson H.G. 1994, The Ownership of English, in “TESOL Quarterly” 28, pp. 377-389.

Widdowson H.G. 1996, Authenticity and Autonomy in ELT, in “ELT Journal” 1, pp. 67-68.

Widdowson H.G. 1997, EIL, ESL, EFL: Global Issues and Local Interests, in “World Englishes” 16, pp. 135-146.

Wuerl D.W. 2013, New Evangelization: Passing the Catholic Faith Today, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington.

Wyse A. 1989, Krio of Sierra Leone, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.

Full Text: pdf


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.