English as a Lingua Franca and language assessment: Challenges and opportunities


English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) communication represents one of the most significant challenges to language testing and assessment since the advent of the communicative revolution. On one hand, ELF destabilises the place of the native speaker, and the notion of assessing against a “stable variety” (Jenkins & Leung, 2014, p.4). At the same time, however, research emerging from ELF studies suggests opportunities for reconceptualising and expanding language constructs. In this talk I will discuss the challenges and opportunities afforded by an English as a Lingua Franca perspective on language assessment. In the first part of the talk, I will describe the two fundamental challenges ELF presents for language assessment, and connect these with broader debates around the nature of communicative competence. I will then discuss how the language testing and assessment community has addressed the ELF challenge thus far, with examples from both scholarship and testing practice. Third, I will sketch an ELF construct for assessment purposes, and present two cases of small-scale studies which have attempted to operationalise this construct. Finally, I will discuss some new directions for research at the interface of ELF and language assessment.


Luke Harding is a senior lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University (UK). His research interests are in language assessment and applied linguistics more broadly, particularly listening assessment, pronunciation and intelligibility, language assessment literacy, and the challenges of World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca for language assessment. He is currently co-editor of the journal Language Testing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 12:30pm to 1:45pm

Poulton Hall, 230
1421 37th St., N.W., Washington


Georgetown College, Linguistics


Luke Harding, Lancaster University

Open to the public and the press?


Event Contact Name

Ben Croner

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