Two free seminars at Institute of Education, UCL, London

How do we write in English as a Lingua Franca?

Anna Mauranen

Vice-Rector and Professor of English, University of Helsinki, Editor of Applied Linguistics

17:30 Monday 22nd February, 2016

Room 642, 20 Bedford Way, UCL Institute of Education, London, WC1H 0AL


As ELF research has shown, communicating in English as a Lingua Franca is highly successful despite manifesting certain non-standard features, much along the lines of dialects and other non-standard varieties. However, it has repeatedly been claimed that while spoken language may tolerate a certain amount of non-standard variability, the same is not true of written text. Writing requires standards and precision to get its message across. A moment’s thought suffices to question this traditional train of thought. Surely, if something is inscribed permanently on a surface, it should be easier to decipher than the fleeting combinations of sounds that speech consists of. To see how writing fares in relation to speech, this talk looks into ELF in high-stakes international writing, academic texts. The data is drawn from the newly completed corpus of written academic ELF at Helsinki, the WrELFA corpus.


Lost and Found: Language Development in Internationally-Adopted Children

Fred Genesee

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, McGill University, Canada

17:30 Thursday 25th February, 2016

Room 903, 20 Bedford Way, UCL Institute of Education, London, WC1H 0AL

This presentation will review behavioral and neuro-imaging results from a longitudinal study of the language development of internationally-adopted (IA) children from China.  The language development of these children is of theoretical interest because they are unique language  learners. Like typical L2 learners, they have delayed exposure to their adopted language. In contrast to typical L2 learners who continue to learn and use their birth language, IA children cease exposure to the birth language upon adoption. Although they exhibit virtually total attrition of the birth language in most cases, evidence will be reported that neuro-cognitive traces remain. IA children provide unique insights into the linguistic and neuro-cognitive consequences of early language learning experiences and can inform our thinking about language learning in general.

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