Exploring L2 learners’ use of communicative strategies: Implications for designing communicative tasks from a (B)ELF perspective

Jim Y.H. Chan, Ivy W. S. Chan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Since the era of globalisation, Business English as a lingua franca (BELF) communication has been the focus of considerable research because L2 speakers have become the vast majority. BELF interactions place greater emphasis on communicative functions (than language forms) that ensure mutual understanding, and the use of communicative strategies (CSs) plays an important role in this process. This study seeks to investigate the use of CSs by Hong Kong L2 learners of different English proficiency levels from a BELF perspective. Specifically, more than 100 secondary and university students were invited to participate in a semi-authentic group interaction task according to the format of Hong Kong’s speaking examination. Our findings not only revealed a limited use of CSs by the L2 learners (e.g. repair, summarising/concluding, signalling topic change explicitly, paraphrasing, repetition, signalling importance, overt question and co-creation of messages) but also a lack of collaborative CSs (e.g. lexical anticipation, joint achievement) that are specific to (B)ELF interactions. There were noticeable differences between the use of CSs by students with a higher and lower English proficiency level. The chapter concludes by offering recommendations for the design of examinations/communication tasks for English language education, which aims at preparing students for their future (B)ELF communication.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Teaching Workplace English in the 21st Century
EditorsMable Chan
ISBN (Electronic)9781003041283
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Language and Communication
PublisherTaylor & Francis Routledge


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