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MacDonald Lecture 2015 by Barbara Seidlhofer

When:Fr 10-04-2015 at 15:00
Where:Heymanszaal, Academy Building

The department of English Language & Culture is happy to announce the 2015 MacDonald Lecture, which will take place on Friday 10 April 2015 at 15:00 in the Heymanszaal, Academiegebouw, Broerstaat 5.

Standard deviation and English as a Lingua Franca

This year’s speaker will be Barbara Seidlhofer. Her talk is entitled “Standard deviation and English as a Lingua Franca”.
A large part of the interactions taking place in English on a daily basis are between speakers that do not have English as their mother tongue. This is what differentiates English from most other widely spoken languages and it has consequences for, for example, language teaching. The main goal for non-native speakers is conveying information; whether this happens in grammatically correct language is of secondary importance. The interlocutor, also a non-native speaker, will not care whether the English is idiomatically correct. So does language teaching have to pay so much attention to grammar and idiom, or should the focus shift towards communicative skills in a second language.

Based on her research into the use of English as a lingua franca, Seidlhofer will argue in favour of deviating from Standard English norms. Corpus research on the VOICE corpus, with conversations between non-native speakers of English, shows that Standard English actually is a burden to intelligibility, and that speakers have a range of strategies to make themselves understood in officially “incorrect” language.

The event is open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Professor Barbara Seidlhofer

Barbara Seidlhofer is Professor of English Language & Literature at the University of Vienna, Austria. She is one of the world’s experts on English as a Lingua Franca and has published widely on the subject, most recently “Understanding English as a Lingua Franca” (Oxford University Press, 2011).

The MacDonald Lecture is organised annually by the department of English Language & Culture in honour of Prof. Em. Alasdair MacDonald, professor of Medieval English Language & Literature and Old Germanic Language & Literature at the University of Groningen from 1986 to 2011.