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EFL (English as a Foreign Language): Implications for Trans-national Internet Communication

Date & Time:
15:30:00 - 17:00:00,
Wednesday 24 May, 2006


The Internet makes it possible for individuals to communicate globally at zero marginal cost. But communication, whether in the form of emails or reading web sites, requires a common language — and there are more than two dozen languages with at least 1 million Internet users. Trans-national communication creates a demand for a lingua franca. This talk will present survey data showing the extent to which EFL is overtaking ENL (English as a Native Language) in trans-national communication, particularly when the purpose is denotative rather than connotative. Contrary to Joe Nye’s thesis that the use of English gives America soft power, it will argue that soft power comes from understanding bi-cultural contexts and this is more likely to be found among EFL users than among native English-speakers who assume that because foreigners speak English they think ‘just like us’.

The talk will extend research initially published in ‘Language, soft power and asymmetrical Internet communication‘ (OII Research Report 7).

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  • Name: Professor Richard Rose
  • Affiliation: Director, Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of
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