Participants at the ELTAF conference on Saturday were treated to thought provoking keynote speech by Penny Ur. With over a third of the world's population speaking English, mainly as a foreign or second language, English has become a "lingua franca" detatched from the cultural roots of mother toungue countries and used primarily as a tool for international communication.
The implications are huge: Penny told us about the developing world standard English that is neither British nor American and forces us to rethink our ideas about what is "correct". In future we have to concentrate on a culturally neutral model of English with an emphasis on comprehensibility in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Intercultural communication was a hot topic at the ELTAF conference, with a track of workshops running through the day that I and many of my fellow attendees followed. These were enriched not only by the excellent speakers, but also through the participation of colleagues from many different cultures. The discussion group in the photo represented at least 5 different countries!
Participants at the ELTAF conference were treated to a cornucopia of wonderful food from breakfast through coffee, lunch and afternoon tea and cakes. Maybe this is the real reason for the popularity of the conference. I was often to be seen hovering at the entrance to the workshops trying to finish my coffee/roll/cake before rushing to catch the start of the workshop.
The ELTAF conference on Saturday attracted top speakers from far and wide including Penny Ur, Bob Dignen (photo) Adrian Pilbeam and James Chamberlain as well as many well know authors from the ELT field such as Paul Emmerson, James Schofield and Mark Fletcher. The high quality of the speakers is undoubtably the main reason for the popularity of the biannual conference with participants who came not only from our own Rhein-Main area but also from other parts of Germany.