International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 21 Issue 2 (July 2011), Pages 143-278

Patterns of change in English as a lingua franca in the UAE (pages 143-161)

As foreign workers constitute about 90 per cent of the workforce of the UAE, English is used as the country's acrolectal lingua franca. In order to discover what effect this community of multilingual speakers is having on the lexicogrammar of English, a million‐word corpus of examples of formal, written English as a lingua franca (ELF) was compiled, and was compared with data from the Longman Spoken and Written English Corpus. The results suggest that the patterns of use of non‐finite complement clauses and of transitive and intransitive verbs, in particular, are beginning to change and that the changes are systematic. Where a choice of patterns exists, ELF usage appears to be converging on the dominant pattern.

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