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4 - What Do Asian Multilinguals Talk about When Using English as a Lingua Franca?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2020

Andy Kirkpatrick
Affiliation:
Griffith University, Queensland
Wang Lixun
Affiliation:
Education University of Hong Kong
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Summary

Chapter 4 provides empirical evidence for the claim that English is an Asian and Asia-centric language. Using data from ACE, topics that Asian multilinguals typically talk about when using English as a lingua franca are described. A preliminary study into this, using a small subset of the ACE corpus, found that common topics were, perhaps not surprisingly, Asia-centric. The topics discussed ranged from the relatively light hearted – such as comparing in a jokey fashion the various qualities of different brands of Thai and Malaysian rice and the importance of coffee to the Vietnamese – to more serious topics such as the treatment of Burmese refugees, ways of raising Islamic finance and the prejudice shown towards ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. This chapter will also introduce the fundamental concepts of register and levels of formality by illustrating how different levels of formality call for different speech styles and types of interaction. The chapter will include a critical discussion on the implications of the topics commonly discussed by Asian multilinguals for English language teaching, in particular their implications for relevant teaching materials and curricula.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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