For non-native English speakers to learn a language in English speaking country may lead to a life-size advantage, especially for early stage teenagers from any country. However, some learners have shown resistance and are reluctant to speak English (L2). They are in a secondary school in London where they tend to be with a group who have the same L1 background. Also emotional issues such as the shock of culture, life style, temperature and being able to fit in the new environment causing blockade instead of improve their speech skills. This subject is not what I intend to explore in this paper. I will focus my research in the learners who arrive in school first of all assessed as L1thresold/Level1secure for speaking and listening. Normally, these learners are assessed higher for reading and writing than for speaking and listening, what I believe it is result of EIL teaching being focus most of the time in the areas where the non-native teacher has more proficiency and feel more confident to teach.
Lingua Franca Core (LFC) presented by Jenkins in 2000 brought an innovated vision intending to facilitate EIL phonology teaching pronunciation. Furthermore I intend to narrow down the studies focusing in what I believe was relevant to EAL (English as an additional language) group. In order to explore the implications of using the LFC as a guideline for teaching I intend to explore the applicability to EAL Intervention group where the learners have the contact with diversity numbers of NS and NNS.What would be the implications of this specific group of learner?
An ongoing discussion in the field has developed around the concept of English as a lingua franca (ELF), which has been studied by scholars such as Barbara Seildhofer and Jennifer Jenkins. Jenkins defines ELF as the language used for communication between speakers who do not speak English as a native language, for example, in business meetings in which Chinese and Mexican speakers interact through the use of English but have different native languages. ELF researchers recognize the existence and use of multiple English varieties, Jenkins explains, while also observing the need for speakers to be familiar with language features that are intelligible across communities of ELF speakers. (Peng 2001: 27)
Taking a stance on any of the issues mentioned above will impact practice, attitudes, and policy in English language use and instruction. Should varieties of English be taught in Outer Circle and Expanding Circle regions, or should a standard variety of English be supported? How should users of non-native varieties be linguistically assessed? Supporters of a pluri-central approach consider that students and teachers need to be aware of the existence of a variety of Englishes; be given the opportunity to compare them; and learn about their range of functions in different contexts, including their own sociolinguistic realities. Ultimately, they should pass down these opportunities for discussion to their own students.
To begin with in early ages Crystal brought what he called 'World Standard Spoken English'(WSSE) followed by Ogden's (1930) was one of the pioneers presenting what he called 'Basic English'; coming after Hockett (1958) who was the first one to establish the phonological core. With more innovation Gimson (1978) presented 'rudimentary international pronunciation' (RIP). In the 80s Jenner (1982) appeared with his first 'list of pronunciation teaching priorities for NNS learners of English'; and in the same time we have Quirk's (1982) bringing 'Nuclear English' based on 'native-speaker intuition'. In the 90s Ufomata (1990) has done a research called 'the basis of international accent' the "basis RP" In late 90s Bhatia(1997) L2 (Institutionalized) varieties; In late 90s Graddol(1997) point out little research into 'NNS-NNS' next Bamgbose (1998) arguing that " non-native varieties of English already have some common ground 'Pluricentric view of English'.(in Jenkins 2000). Looking closely to nowadays proposals, I will discuss the newly, starting with Jenkins (2000) presenting LFC; Seidlhofer criticising view; Walker in Pronunciation for International view.
In order to explore the implications of using the LFC as a guideline for teaching I intend to explore the applicability to EAL Intervention group in a secondary school in east London, where the learners have the contact with diversity numbers of NS and NNS. Taking the features of LFC core trying to put in practise and see the results. I expect to be able to test the core discussing the outcomes in this group. Would the learners prefer keep their accents or not? Which reactions should be taken into account?
Outline of English Language in the world
In a period of British Colonization around the world in association with economic power of United States, English has become the main language of the modern world. We all know how English is the language tool for big discussions such as economy, media, electronics and wars. How to communicate effective is the aim to any NNS and whatever would help them to adjust and facilitate to the worlds communication using EIL most of them are willing to learn.
"The present day world status of English is primarily the result of two factors: the expansion of British colonial power, which peaked towards the end of the 19th century, and the emergence of the United States as the leading economic power of the 20th century. It is the factor which continues to explain the position of the English language today" (in Jenkins 2009:38).
The brightest side of IEL is the respect in the world's diversity when having ESL or EFL. The phenomenon called "globalization" it is possible because of the EIL, also named "planetary citizenship" by Telma Gimenez (in Jenkins: 2009) The Media World has a responsibility in transforming people's life. Adopted massively and dominating business relationships between markets in the world; linking economic growth with technology and Internet leading the most important vehicle to communication. Therefore learn English it is essential to get a better future in many countries from Outer Circle and Expanding circle. The spread of English has generated a discussion between linguistics towards to which pronunciation core should be followed by teacher of English as second language (ESL) or as English as a foreign language (EFL). Kachru (1992) presented the three- concentric circle called Inner Circle (the majority of the population who speaks English as mother tongue), the Outer Circle(countries which have English as L2) and the Expanding Circle(countries which the economy is growing and EIL is being used and developing ). See below how Kachru (in Jenkins 2009 and Medgyes 1994) represents the EIL in the world.
Unfortunately Phonology or speaking activities is not a part of lesson that teachers give a lot of emphasize, maybe because many teachers have been taught in an old fashioned way when the learners should listen and be quite. Neither with my experience can I testify that many teachers do not have much interests or training skills to provide a quality teaching? However, in my teaching group pronunciation has a great impact and result assuring these learners will gain and also boost up the self-esteem of the EAL learners.
EIL and Native Speaker
In another hand we need to remember that the growth of the population of English speakers as a L2 will definitely overcome the NS in the world whether a range of diversity using the language. I sympathise with Jenner when he says "Attention is at last being paid to the way the language is used outside the native-speaking community, and it is now almost axiomatic that English is no longer the exclusive "property" of native speakers". (Jenner: 1997:10) But who is the "native speaker"? I will try to present a list of characteristics in oft-quoted definitions (Stern 1983, Crystal 1985, Richards et al. 1985, Davies 1991) who is the called native speakers (L1) (in Medgyes 1994).
Was born in an English-speaking country; and/or
Acquired English during childhood in English in an English-speaking family or environment;
Speaks English as his/her first language;
has a native-like command of English;
has the capacity to produce fluent, spontaneous discourse in English;
uses the English language creatively;
Have reliable intuitions to distinguish right and wrong forms in English.
The great prestige of being a 'NS' in English speaking community survives strongly in many areas where EIL is vehicle of communication I prefer to use the expression of 'second-class English speaker' to who still keep strong accent from L2. . But Kachru (1992:67; emphasis in original) argues a innovated vision to EIL " puts a burden on those who use it as their first language, as well as on those who use it as their second language" adding a term " attitudinal readjustment". (Jenkins 2000).
Especially argued by Jenkins the pronunciation mistakes is already part of EIL therefore should be accepted as characteristics of the speakers "regional" English accent, considering all variety the same level of NS accents. Due to this the issue regarding the variety of the necessity to have an international intelligibility and the unconscious temptation to model L1 identity in their L2 English (in Jenkinks2007:23; see example, McKay 2002; Dalton-Puffer et al, 1997) by enlarging NNS English speakers the access to the equality. Why should NNS has ' a lazy core'? What is going to be NNS aspirations towards to learn English?
I would argue that learn pronunciation based on RP or GA it is responsibility of the learner to modify and understand the difficulties they have depending where is the background. I have seen people really working hard to improve an accent in order to get better job or being accepted in new family. "Language is a power" as has been argued by Quirk and Honey (Pennycook, 2001:48) (in Jenkins, 2007) or maybe in the near future 'accents will be a power'.
Knowing that RP or GA are the Pronunciation Core guide and having the classroom to evaluate , maybe you could have some of success to make your students improve pronunciation. Learner would have more difficulties to active RP model because it is much harder to students L2 to adapt to British posh accent losing the naturalism of the language. (Bülow, 2009, 142).
Approach towards to Lingua Franca Core
Lingua Franca is a variety of English language that has been used by the world to communicate for different propose nowadays. According to Jenkins "In essence, a lingua franca is a contact language used among people who do not share a first language". Seidlhofer defines LFC as "English is chosen as the means of communication among people from different first language backgrounds, across lingua-cultural boundaries" (House 1999; Seidlhofer 2001). Firth (1996:240) describes LFC "it is a 'contact language' between persons who share neither a common native tongue nor a common (national) culture, and for whom English is the chosen foreign language of communication"(in Seidlhofer ELT Journal Volume 59/4 October 2005).
In his review to IEL Jenner argued that it was not necessary NNS sounds 'native-like' for the Intelligilibility and acceptance happens in communication using IEL. He brought a new core with the features "... the vowel system of International norm will be based on a set of 13 vowels, consisting of five economically spaced peripheral positions, and three true diphthongs. Length, as in ScE, will be an optional realization feature for some speakers, and central vowels will be entirely lacking". (1997:14). Summarising Jenner's idea the IEL Core would be reduced to 13 instead of 20 in RP and 16 in GA, and taking out schwa sound.
An IE Core, then, may be an interesting phenomenon for 'phonologists' at the descriptive level, but it will require some sort of mediation if it is to be useful pedagogically at the prescriptive level. In particular, it must take into account not only what speakers actually produce, but also-just as importantly-how listeners process linguistic signals.... It will include features that many speakers of English (including L1 speakers) have to acquire if they are to achieve International Intelligibility (Jenkins 2000:128).
This means that it is broad object of research that still have a long way to go before we ensure what direction approach to take in teaching pronunciation. In others words by James (1998:213) "What is required" for both 'NNS-NNS' and 'NNS-NS' (in Jenkins 2000:124).The main point of Jenner's research was the vowel sounds where he believes to have many difficulties for the learner. According to him "most of the differences between varieties of languages can be accounted by the descriptions of their vowel systems" (1997 IATEFL Speak Out 21: pps: in 10)
As revealed by Seidlhofer (2004) ELF has limitations in the proposal in the case of non-native speakers' learners being the major of the studies. As she sees "because most lingua franca definitions restrict it to communication among non-native users as such, but because it best signals that it is these non-native users provide the strongest momentum for the development of the language in its global uses"(in Jenkins:2007:4). Notably the native speakers do not provide great role in LFC thus she concentrated of NBESs who have developed their proficiency up to an upper-intermediate. On the role Jenkins presents the LFC pronunciation based in how segmental (consonant sounds and vowel sounds) suprasegmental characteristics (weak forms, rhythm, word stress, intonation, acceptability) can impede or facilitate for the intelligibility, techabibilty and learnabibity in communication where NNS is part of. What she proposes is what she calls "the different needs of its interlocutors" where the applicability of suprasegmental would worth it in special learner's necessity. Taking the case of:
In the future the learner would have a contact with 'native' speaker of English;
The learner has emigrated to an L1 English country or will be living in one for a long period, and wishes to assimilate as fully as possible with 'native' English speaker;
The learner, for personal or professional reasons, wishes to sound as close to 'native' speakers of English as is possible.
Linguistics had distinctive opinions about LFC as an example Walker (2001) decided to see the proposal could work in Spain. He concludes studies seem pleased with the simplification of the core. When he says
"By viewing English as a tool for international intelligibility, we establish a new perspective on pronunciation goals, with priorities that are both fewer in number and more realistic than those previously set. For monolingual groups the learner's first language is a vital tool in achieving these new goals, and the bilingual non-native speaker teacher is an ideal instructor.
Resulted for some critics of LFC Jenkins (2002) gives a solution what she believes could promote intelligibility for EIL. The tables are divided by 3 columns, first one the left where list the main core features; in the middle column where the listener is assumed to be an NS of English, on-the left the LFC target. These tables were called by Wells (2003) as a 'lazy approach' of teaching pronunciation because of the omission of some features of English RP/GA where in her studies most of NNS get wrong.
In the next table1.3, "compare and contrast the ELF Syllabus with a pronunciation features.
In my investigation to EAL learners I took LFC features to apply in a multilingual L2 group, the aim was to identify a general unintelligibility may appear to this group. The learners' backgrounds were from Lithuania, Brazil, Russian, Romania, Spain, Poland, Italy and German. Firstly, I would like to set the scene where the study was made with EAL learners in East London. The learners are 'NNS' who came to this country with their family and all of them are fluent in one to three languages. The need of the language is primarily to interact in school community with NS and NNS speakers, also to be able to communicate outside school sometimes translating conversations to parents. In propose to test LFC and gather the results into this group of learners that is seem adequate to promote the intelligibility. However, most of them will be part of UK community in few years time, studying in University and looking for a job. Graddol (2006) has noted that non-native speakers are becoming communities of practice developing their own way of speaking.
Using activities offered by the software programme called Inside Out and book for teaching pronunciation, gathering the activities of pronunciation which could be relevant to the investigation. The activities are based on the voice sound of 'NS' and the learners were instructed to repeat after the voice, also recorded, some learners trying to imitate as much they could to the voice listened and others had to listen twice to pronounce some words. As an early result they have presented distinctive types of difficulties, some similarity difficult to produce some word sounds. The lack of confidence made them to hesitate to repeat some words causing delays; in addition the posh accents used by the software brought a feeling of impossibility to reproduce or accommodate to the word. The reason why the investigation were carried out with the software instead of teacher prompt the words was because of the influence of NNS teacher accent may would cause to the learners. These are some of the findings of this research which the nine areas in this 'common core' that it seems to be some of the problematic issues:
1 Vowel quantity: all 7 learners did not pronounce correctly the words sheep instead of ship/ live and leave. They cannot understand the vowel length.
2- Diphthongs: all learners pronounce pretty similar to the voice but the length it was not accurate.
3- The consonantal inventory: /Î¸/, /Ã°/ and [É«]: all 7 learners used L1 substitutions which is acceptable besides Russian learner is quite not understandable.
4- Word stress:The teacher has explained more than once, the learners tended to repeat the word with wrong stress.
5-Features of connected speech, such as elision and assimilation: some of the learners find difficulty to pronounce, 'not at all' it was not a word part of their vocabulary.
In summary Jenkins' and Jenner's research has some features in common where they focus in NNS. Jenner analysis has determined the Common core EIL the main characteristics of English pronunciation in a way that Integilligibility can reach the multilingual varieties in inner, outer and expanding circle. (ibid) The pronounce stabilization of some speaker normally adults he called "fossilized". He suggests that the quality of the IEL in many countries is stagnant. Therefore people are able to present a very simple speech and there is no chance to get in a standard level. (Jenner 1997:10-11)
Many learners have in mind how they should sound in English language. The prestige of being born in one of the Inner circle countries (ibid) such as United Kingdom and United States surpasses others less eligible. "For mutual intelligibility the accent differences need to decrease among speaker from different L1 backgrounds. Accents may be closely bound up with feelings of personal and group identity, which means that people tend to resist such a attempts, whether consciously subconsciously ."(Jenkins 2009:42)
All of these problems concern the potentially problematic role of the native speaker. Many writers and researchers (e.g., Crystal, 2003; Graddol, 2006; Nickerson, 2005; Seidlhofer 2000, 2001) have alluded to what they call "the native speaker problem," meaning that native speakers of English can often be the cause of miscommunication and misunderstanding in intercultural interactions. It is argued that native speakers, when interacting with lingua franca speakers, continue to speak idiomatically, using complicated or obscure vocabulary, and bringing with them their cultural communication norms. The language is often difficult for the lingua franca speaker to understand and the communication norms are something they do not share with the native speaker. Clearly, how native speakers of English define English, and how they believe it should be used, is likely to be different from lingua franca speakers, and this brings with it potential problems.
In final view, the LFC seems to be easy to identify some accurate features to promote the intelligibility to 'NNS'. I do not see the point to teach English phonology differently to EIL core because I believe maybe could create what I would call a second-hand English language. In this point I would suggest more studies and training to NNS teacher maybe granting the quality. Or maybe using LFC the gap could be bigger for intelligibility. It would create another variety of English language or maybe making the gap between the NS and NNS even bigger than now.
Enquiries could be done in how would be possible to analyse and control the differences and vocabulary acquisition in IEL? How it would be the best way to assess the EIL in other countries? How EIL can be applied to ESL or EFL in Inner Circle? In addition, the quality of EIL in other countries argued as the 'fossilization' already mentioned could be the key to influence of L2 Outer and Expanding Circle ,what woud crucial to the EAL learners researched.