The compilation and lexicogrammatical analysis of an Estonian spoken mini-corpus of English as a lingua franca
Although the research of English as a lingua franca (ELF) is a relatively recent development, it has nevertheless rapidly become an acknowledged field of study that also causes considerable debate among linguists and English language teaching professionals. Over the past decade or so, ELF scholars have compiled several spoken corpora to explore the features of ELF and have described them from the perspective of pronunciation (Jenkins 2000, Walker 2010), pragmatics (Kaur 2011, Seidlhofer 2011, Walkinshaw & Kirkpatrick 2014) and lexicogrammar (Seidlhofer 2004, Dewey 2007b, Breiteneder 2009, Önen 2014). Jenkins (2007) and Seidlhofer (2011) have both elaborated on the topic of attitudes towards ELF and identity regarding ELF. The sociolinguistic aspects of ELF have also been explored in the Estonian context (Soler-Carbonell 2014, 2015), but the lexicogrammatical aspects have not. To fill that gap, a mini-corpus of spoken ELF was compiled for this thesis to see whether any of the lexicogrammatical features identified by previous ELF research occur with Estonian ELF speakers as well. Another aim of the thesis was to discuss the possible pedagogical implications of these findings. The Introduction of the thesis presents a brief overview of previous research into ELF, its relation to pedagogy, the aims of the thesis and why the thesis is of relevance. The first chapter provides a more detailed account of the development and relevance of ELF research along with how spoken corpora have been and are compiled and used to describe ELF. In addition to that, the points of contact between ELF and English language teaching and the need for reconciliation between the two paradigms are discussed together with a short summary of the criticism that has been directed at the concept of ELF. The second chapter provides a description of the compilation process of the spoken ELF mini-corpus, the participants involved and the transcription and annotation of the interviews that were recorded to compile the corpus. The corpus is analysed from the perspective of innovations in the use of articles, prepositions and collocations with verbs of high semantic generality. Comparisons are drawn with similar studies by other scholars. The thesis ends with a discussion on the underlying motives for the innovations found in the corpus and their pedagogical implications. The limitations and possibilities for further research are also outlined together with a summary of the findings of the study in light of the theoretical framework presented in the thesis.
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