English as a lingua Franca in higher education in Malaysia

Hashim, A. (2014) English as a lingua Franca in higher education in Malaysia. The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1 (1). pp. 16-27. ISSN 2308-6262

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Abstract

This paper examines the role of English in higher education in Malaysia within the context of Southeast Asia, ASEAN, and the global challenges the country faces. It surveys the uses, functions of and demand for English in Malaysia and the region. The practices and needs of higher education institutions are contextualized within the progression from secondary education upwards and the history of educational policies. This paper discusses English needs of higher education as set inside multilingual contexts where English functions as the default language. The nature of English in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia is highly diverse and variable and speakers may use stable and creative localized forms such as Malaysian, Singaporean and Philippine English. The tension between these national or regional varieties and the desired command of English are addressed. It is proposed that English as a lingua franca may be the best option for higher education institutions although one will still need to restrict it to semi-formal spoken contexts and adopt a form of international English for writing, especially academic writing. Whatever target variety is thought to be the most adequate, English cannot be dissociated from culture and pragmatic norms. Teaching and learning therefore require an openness to and acceptance of diversity way beyond immediate comprehension.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Azirah Hashim is a Professor in the English Language Department, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics and currently Dean of the Humanities and Ethics Research Cluster, University of Malaya. Prior to that, she was the Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics at the same university. Her research interests include English in Malaysia and in the Region, Language and the Law, and Academic and Professional Discourse. She is on the executive committee of the Asia Pacific Languages for Specific Purposes and Professional Communication Association as well as the executive committee of the International Association of Forensic Linguists. Azirah is a Fellow and Alumni of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany. She is currently heading the CLMV programme at the university and is coordinator of the Asia-Africa University Development Network.
Uncontrolled Keywords: ELF; multilingualism; higher education; ASEAN; Malaysia
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Languages and Linguistics
Depositing User: Ms Saidatul Azura Radzi
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2014 01:27
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2014 01:27
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/9800

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