Cross-cultural Mediation in ELF Migration Contexts: Pedagogical Implications on ELT Multilingual Settings

Silvia Sperti
Roma Tre University
Keywords: ELT, migration, English as a Lingua Franca, language mediation, intercultural communication


ELF cross-cultural interactions and mediation processes in specialized migration settings are often characterized by ‘gatekeeping’ asymmetries between the participants involved challenging a successful meaning negotiation (Guido, 2008). The exploration of migration encounters (Sperti, 2017) is particularly useful in the analysis of naturally occurring dialogues among ELF users, since it shows how ELF speakers, engaged in intercultural interactions, appropriate the English language according to their own native linguacultural and paralinguistic schemata, and to specific pragmalinguistic purposes and processes. The multimodal investigation of the occurring hybridization processes is focused on (i) ELF redefinition of existing native paralinguistic correlates in the pragmalinguistic use of an ELF variation; and (ii) resulting L1 transfers affecting the performing of speech acts and the conversational composition and progress. The analysis reveals (a) the mediation of meaning, experience and intentionality in terms of resulting lexical, syntactical, and register performance; and (b) the role played by prosody and paralanguage in the mutual acceptance of speakers’ intentions, attitudes, and cognitive schemata, in spoken specialized discourse related to medical and legal integration, mediated migration narratives, cross-cultural conceptual representations and reception of traumatic experience. The heuristic approach applied to the analysis of data derived from the exploration of real plurilingual cross-cultural exchanges is particularly useful in the promotion of the conscious use of cross-cutting strategies as powerful learning tools embedded in the language learning process, with the ultimate aim of (i) investigating the possible impact of migration on teacher education, (ii) defining an ELF-aware pedagogical framework in plurilingual educational settings, and (iii) enhancing the development of learners’ skills in intercultural communication.

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