The elusive concept of culture


It is widely assumed that communication in English as a lingua franca is of its very nature inter-cultural. But the concept of culture is itself indeterminate. It is generally defined as the socially shared conventions of belief and behavior of particular communities, but the concept of community is similarly indeterminate. Communities exist and co-exist in different sizes from micro to macro across a spectrum of specificity, and each can be said to be associated with its own particular culture. Although it may be sociolinguistically convenient to focus on the macro end of the spectrum, communication is enacted at all levels by the same process of bringing about schematic convergence by means of varied linguistic resources. From this pragmatic perspective, the use of ELF is no more and no less intercultural or multilingual than any other communicative activity.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v38p13


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