ELF Users’ Perceptions of Their ‘non-nativeness’ in Digital Communication Through English: Falling Short of the Target?


  • Valeria Franceschi Università degli Studi di Verona
  • Paola Vettorel Università degli Studi di Verona



Parole chiave:

English as a Lingua Franca, non-nativeness and ‘errors’, digital communication


In the past years, the unprecedented use of English as a shared language of communication has sparked academic interest in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). One of the main tenets of ELF studies, in the deconstruction of the persisting dichotomy between ‘nativeness’ and ‘non-nativeness’, is a perspective on non-normative forms that does not consider them ‘errors’ or ‘failures’ in comparison to native (Standard) norms. Rather, these forms may occur as the result of meaning-negotiation strategies, or as expressions of identity.

However, ELF users appear to show a certain level of self-consciousness when communicating in ELF contexts, often pre-empting potential deviant uses of the language by apologizing for their ‘non-native’ English - or by flagging what they perceive as marked linguistic choices. Indeed, bilingual speakers of English are still traditionally characterized by their non-nativeness as ‘deficient’ language users, where their identity as (permanent) learners is foregrounded within a ‘comparative fallacy’ (Cook 1999) paradigm, that is also projected on language use.

This paper explores ELF users' perceptions of their ‘non-native’ use of the language in digital contexts. Such perceptions will be investigated, through a mainly qualitative approach, with data drawn from the Sketch Engine EnTenTen corpus (2013v2), comprising almost 23 billion tokens of web data. 


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Biografie autore

Valeria Franceschi, Università degli Studi di Verona

Valeria Franceschi completed her PhD in English studies in 2014. Her dissertation focused on code-switching in written ELF in relation to online fan practices, namely fanfiction. In addition to ELF, her research interests include digital communication, idiomaticity and phraseology. Among her publications: (2013) “Figurative language and ELF: Idiomaticity in Cross-cultural Interaction in University Settings”, Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 2.1, 75-99; (2013) (with P. Vettorel) “English and Lexical Inventiveness in the Italian Linguistic Landscape”, English Text Construction 6.2, 238-270

Paola Vettorel, Università degli Studi di Verona

Paola Vettorel is assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures - University of Verona. Her main research interests include ELF and its implications in ELT practices and materials; ELF and digital media. Among her publications: (2014) ELF in wider networking. Blogging Practices. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter; (2015) (ed.) New Frontiers in Teaching and Learning English. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars; (2016) WE- and ELF-informed classroom practices: proposals from a pre-service teacher education programme in Italy. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 5/1: 107-133.




Come citare

Franceschi, Valeria, e Paola Vettorel. 2017. «ELF Users’ Perceptions of Their ‘non-nativeness’ in Digital Communication Through English: Falling Short of the Target?». Altre Modernità, aprile, 133-48. https://doi.org/10.13130/2035-7680/8307.



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