One of the consequences of English globalisation has been the increasing number of non-native speakers worldwide, who have now become the overwhelming majority of English users. As a result, a major controversy in the field of ELF has been the application of exonormative Inner Circle norms to contemporary ELT classrooms because native speakers are no longer relevant to most international communication. Against this background, this study seeks to investigate the first-hand English-using experiences of the professionals in Hong Kong as compared with the perceptions of real-life English use by school teachers and students. While the former participants are the major stakeholders in authentic English communication, it is also crucial to understand the awareness of the latter so as identify any potential ‘gap’ between language practices in the real life and the conceptions of teachers and future users (i.e. students). More specifically, the perceptions and experiences of these participants were investigated via a large-scale structured questionnaire survey (n=1893) and semi-structured interviews/focus groups (n=151). The interviewed professionals were from a wide range of occupational domains at both junior and senior levels. The findings suggest that the real-life English-using situation in Hong Kong is highly sophisticated and, perhaps, individualised according to the occupational nature, whereas teachers’ and students’ awareness of language use tends to be rather limited. The paper concludes by highlighting some important observations and recommendations based on challenges facing the professionals and their suggested solutions in real-life English communication (e.g. accent variation, telephoning, cultural differences and situational differences in language choice).
|Title of host publication||The Ninth International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2016|