The 8th international conference of English as a Lingua Franca(ELF) was successfully held in Beijing International Convention Centre from Aug. 25th to 27th, 2015. It was hosted by the National Research Centre for Foreign Language Education, BFSU, China English Language Education Association and Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, co-hosted by Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.
As many as 153 experts, researchers and teachers from 23 countries all over the world attended this academic event. Over the course of three days, core issues centered on Conceptualization and Pedagogical Solutions were discussed in depth through plenary talks, invited symposia, parallel lecture sessions and posters, covering a wide range of topics including language identity, attitudes, language policy, cultures, translation and pedagogy. The participants also explored the connotations of ELF from both synchronic and diachronic angles, pointed out current dilemmas and came up with tentative solutions. Their academic communications went beyond education to social life and spread furthermore to international interactions, bringing significant inspirations to the expansion and innovation in ELF research.
There were 4 plenary talks, 7 invited symposia, 110 parallel lecture sessions and 19 poster presentations altogether given by attendees at the conference. Professor Jennifer Jenkins gave the first plenary talk “see the world through three ELF eyes” in which she reviewed the overall development of ELF and defined English as “a contact language among speakers from different first languages” and therefore stressed that nonnative English speakers had legitimate rights to the use of English. In succession, Professor Li Wei from London College University delivered the second plenary talk on “Translanguaging ELF in Chinese contexts” and shared his understanding of ELF as a dynamic process involving language variants and knowledge construction. He made references to ELF in Chinese contexts and predicted that the competition between English and the uprising Chinese would achieve a win-win effect on both cultures and languages. Professor Anna Mauranen pursued the topic from the scientific point of view. Her speech “ELF-the language of science” gave a short review of the history of science and the languages used in science and called on us to “keep science international, and keep its language international”. At last, Professor Wen Qiufang made a thought-provoking presentation on “Teaching culture(s) in ELF：Current dilemmas and possible solutions” in which she discussed the interdependent relations between language and culture on four dimensions, namely topic, situation, context and language, and proposed a new model of “languature”. She concluded her talk with her constructive advice to current dilemmas of English teaching: “the more separable, the more multi-languatural; the less separable, the more English languatural”.
ELF researches aim at eliminating bias in English language use across the world, in order to promote deeper understanding and share wisdom among all countries. We hope to push international communication in culture, economy and science by reducing suspicion, prejudice and hostility in an equal and tolerant language environment. We wish for further development in ELF, both in China and around the world, and look forward to our next ELF gathering.