Attitudes and Identities: Which factors affect successful communication in ELF contexts


The study will attempt to explore the relationship between language and culture from a cultural and intercultural perspective, drawing on the concept of linguistic and “cultural flows” (Pennycook 2007) as well as on the idea that culture and language are “nested systems, systems within systems, which mutually co-evolve with each influencing and adapting to the other and with the boundaries between them as fuzzy and blurred” (Baker 2015). The intercultural nature of English will be highlighted in the attempt to identify which factors are more likely to contribute to successful intercultural communication. The study will analyse the attitudes and perceptions of two sample groups. The first sample is composed of students belonging to different first language backgrounds, mainly non-native speakers of English studying in a non-target language environment, the University of Calabria (South of Italy). The second sample is made up of both native and non-native English speakers studying in target-language environments, Chicago Loyola University (USA) and University of Alberta (Canada) where English is not only the main means of communication but also the main medium of academic instruction. An online link to a questionnaire was sent via email to all participants and was used as a research instrument to collect quantitative data. In particular, the study will investigate whether exposure to non-native English and familiarity with multicultural academic communities encourage participants to manifest more or less positive attitudes and awareness towards the relation between culture and language and the factors facilitating or hindering intercultural communication through English. Finally, native/non-native speakers responses will be compared. The purpose will be to shed further light on the factors affecting intercultural communication in ELF contexts, in the hope to gain useful insights that may encourage language teachers to incorporate Intercultural Communication issues in the language classroom. The preliminary results will be presented and pedagogical considerations suggested.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v46p37

Keywords: Intercultural Communication; Language and culture; non-native varieties of English; global English; learners’ attitudes.


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