English As A Langua Franca: Practices Of Academics in A Turkish University

Ali Karakas
2012 Usak University Journal of Social Sciences  
This study aims to identify the problems/difficulties that academics in a Turkish university encounter while using English as a lingua franca. The data were garnered through survey questionnaires filled out by 27 academics based in a Turkish university in the southwest of Turkey. The findings demonstrated that academics dramatically needed and used English in non-native contexts and mainly with non-native speakers of English for various reasons and purposes. Moreover, it was found that
more » ... found that participants experienced a large number of misunderstandings and difficulties in the use of English for work-related purposes, and they resented the fact that they had to take English proficiency exams for academic promotion. The results are discussed in relation to those of previous studies of similar scope. The study concludes with suggestions posed for the improvement of academics' verbal and academic writing skills and the issue of language proficiency examination policies. Keywords: English as a lingua franca, academic English, Turkish academics, the academic world. ** Araş. Gör. Mehmet Akif Ersoy Üniversitesi, Eğitim Fakültesi Uşak Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, 2012 Güz (5/3) Anahtar kelimeler: Ana dili farklı olanların konuştuğu ortak dil olarak İngilizce, akademik İngilizce, Türk akademisyenler, akademik çevre. Introduction Nowadays, we frequently hear or read the motto 'the world is developing into a global village'. Nevertheless, people in this village, do not possess a common language but bring along a variety of languages. Then, the question that how these people communicate with each other arises ipso facto. At this point, English emerges as a global lingua franca by serving as a vital and common means of communication for a large number of people all around the world (Coury, 2001) . In a similar vein, Breton (2000) holds the view that "The English language now seems set to have a monopoly as the worldwide medium of communication". As maintained by Crystal (1997) English has hitherto left its marks on each continent and is predominantly spoken over 60 countries either dominantly or officially. This situation leads to increased opportunity and possibility of non-native speakers to meet other speakers of English who are either English or non-English. In such meetings, it is exceedingly likely that "speakers conduct various communicative tasks, from business meetings, academic presentations...to casual chat..." (Cogo, 2009, p. 254). These instances can be multiplied indefinitely. What concerns us is: however,for now, how English has come to hold such an intermediating role in these diverse situations of gathering. The long-established role of English has shifted from being a foreign language to an international\global language over which any users can assert a right. A variety of factors have contributed to this continuous process of change occurred in the use of English by leading to the spread of English across continents among people of different languages. Of these, the main ones include copious developments having progressively occurred in communication and information technology (e.g. the Internet), advancements and fall of expenses in air transportation, just to name a few. Accordingly, English has eventually come to act like "a bridge of communication" for people from different walks of life who do not share a common language (Gallego, 2012) . In this respect, Coury (2001) points to the fact that English may alleviate communication among people engaged in academia, and facilitate access to informationby quoting from Crystal (1997a) that 'Most of the scientific, technological and academic information in the world is expressed in English and over 80% of all the information stored in electronic retrieval systems is in English' (p.106).The dominance of English in the academic world both in the dissemination and storage of information gives us the right to assert that English has gained the status of
doi:10.12780/uusbd131 fatcat:aerlvewouvgp7ooe2hcdchwila