HENK00002U English - Free topic 2: World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca

Volume 2018/2019

This module consists of two courses – World Englishes: Norms vs. Usages, taught by Henrik Gottlieb, and English as a Lingua Franca, taught by Janus Mortensen and Katherine Kappa.


World Englishes: Norms vs. Usages

English is the mother tongue of almost 500 million people worldwide. Yet an English language council is nowhere to be found: ‘correct English’ is not a fixed entity. How does that affect local norms and conventions as presented by self-established ‘authorities’ like the Oxford or Merriam-Webster dictionaries?

This MA course will focus on the different native-speaker varieties of English and discuss the development over time of what constitutes ‘good English’. We will chart the differences and similarities between English as it appears in (different parts of) the US and the UK, and compare with English as found in Canada or Australia – and in South Africa and other societies where English has official status without being the dominant home language.

Sub-topics to be discussed include the following: Is American English a threat to British English? Is there such a thing as Indian English? Are the different world Englishes moving in different directions, or are they converging? What will happen to English in the EU after Brexit?

We will look for answers to such questions in academic articles plus a host of electronic online text corpora from a number of English-speaking countries.

Links to corpora and articles will be provided during the course, but students need to buy our course book, “World Englishes” by Gunnel Melchers & Philip Shaw (Second edition, Routledge, 2011).

This part of the course will cover the first seven weeks of the semester.


English as a Lingua Franca

When English is used as a means of interaction between speakers with different first languages we say that English is used as a lingua franca. Arguably, this may be the most common way for English to be used worldwide today, and it therefore makes perfect sense that ‘English as a lingua franca’ (or ‘ELF’ for short) in recent years – despite much controversy – has been established as an object of study in its own right, and has recently been added as a core subject in the curriculum for English in the Danish ‘gymnasium’. Through a mix of teacher-led discussions, data sessions and student presentations this course will treat some of the central questions addressed within the area of ELF research: What is English as a lingua franca – and why should we study it? Is ELF a new variety of English? What characterizes the interaction we find in ELF encounters? Is it different from the interaction we find in situations where English is used as a shared first language? Is ELF merely a tool for communication, or is it also a medium that speakers can use to express or establish identity? Does ELF represent a challenge to standard language ideology? And what are the implications of ELF research for language teaching? Since ELF is currently being examined from several different perspectives, the course will introduce students to a range of disciplines and methodologies within the general area of linguistics, including sociolinguistics, conversation analysis and corpus linguistics.

This course will cover the last seven weeks of the semester.

English as a Lingua Franca

This is a compendium and textbook-free course. All readings used are available online (for free) through the university library. A detailed course plan including readings for each week will be made available via Absalon at least four weeks before the course begins. Students are responsible for getting hold of the material listed in the course plan and read it in advance of each session, but please do not hesitate to contact the course teachers if you have problems locating particular items. If you would like to buy a textbook for supplementary reading, a list of recommended sources will be made available.

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.
This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio for both courses uploaded in digital exam: Deadline January 9th 2019
World Englishes: Norms vs. Usages
Home paper (11-15 pages) to be handed in no later than week 50 – in order for students to make use of teacher feedback before handing in the complete portfolio in January 2019.

English as a Lingua Franca
The portfolio assignments for this part of the course will involve the production of three essays. In each essay, students will be asked to write a critical summary of a piece of ELF research, presented for an academic audience as well as a general audience. The ‘popular’ summaries will be published via an official University of Copenhagen website on ELF which will be co-produced by the course teachers and the students as an integral part of the course, giving students an opportunity to practice how research can be communicated to a wide audience using an online platform. The course will conclude with an official launch party to celebrate the new ELF website.
Essay 1, 3-5 pages, deadline week 9 (calendar week 44)
Essay 2, 3-5 pages, deadline week 11 (calendar week 46)
Essay 3, 3-5 pages, deadline week 13 (calendar week 48)
Feedback will be in the form of peer response, so all essays must be submitted for feedback one week before the final deadline.
Exam registration requirements

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.

Criteria for exam assesment