“A Relaxing Cup of Lingua Franca Core”: Local Attitudes Towards Locally-Accented English

  • Juan Antonio Cutillas Espinosa Departamento de Filología Inglesa. Facultad de Letras. Universidad de Murcia.


Towards the end of the twentieth century, a view emerged suggesting that English had become a lingua franca for communication and, consequently, was no longer the property of its native speakers. Today, the emphasis is on the heterogeneity of the English-speaking world, thus calling into question the legitimacy of the inner circle Englishes. In this vein, it is suggested that non-native accents of English should be granted a legitimate status, provided that mutual intelligibility is preserved. In this paper we compare Lingua Franca Core (LFC) features of pronunciation with the speech to the 2015 International Olympic Committee given by the then Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella. We use auditory analysis and speech analysis software when necessary in order to: (a) systematically describe her use of non-native features which could be labelled as Spanish English; (b) assess these in terms of their potential to impair intelligibility as described in Jennifer Jenkins’s LFC. The data obtained enable us to provide an analysis that sheds light on how the English as a Lingua Franca debate may be influenced by local attitudes towards correctness in speech. This, in turn, has implications for a sociolinguistically-informed approach to the teaching of pronunciation.Keywords: English as Lingua Franca (ELF); Lingua Franca Core (LFC); non-native accents of English; linguistic attitudes; political speech

Author Biography

Juan Antonio Cutillas Espinosa, Departamento de Filología Inglesa. Facultad de Letras. Universidad de Murcia.
Juan Antonio Cutillas Espinosa obtained his PhD from the University of Murcia in 2006. He has been Senior Lecturer at the Department of English Philology of the University of Murcia since 2009. His main areas of research include English phonetics and phonology, forensic linguistics and the sociolinguistic study of style shifting.


Abramson, Arthur S. and Leigh Lisker. 1973. “Voice-Timing Perception in Spanish Word-Initial Stops.” Journal of Phonetics 1: 1-8.

Bell, Allan. 1984. “Language Style as Audience Design.” Language in Society 13: 145-204.

Boersma, Paul and David Weenink. 2016. PRAAT. Doing Phonetics by Computer. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam. [Accessed online on December 1, 2016].

Clark, Urszula. 2013. Language and Identity in Englishes. London: Routledge. Deterding, David. 2012. “Intelligibility in Spoken ELF.” Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 1 (1): 185-190.

—. 2013. Misunderstandings in English as a Lingua Franca. An Analysis of ELF Interactions in South-East Asia. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Dziubalska-Kołaczyk, Katarzyna and Joanna Przedlacka, eds. 2005. English Pronunciation Models. A Changing Scene. Berlin: Peter Lang.

Firth, Alan. 1996. “The Discursive Accomplishment of Normality. On ‘Lingua Franca’ English and Conversation Analysis.” Journal of Pragmatics 26 (2): 237-259.

Gimson, Alfred C. (1962) 2001. Gimson’s Pronunciation of English. 6th ed., revised by Alan Cruttenden. London: Arnold.

Görlach, Manfred. 1991. Englishes. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

—. 1995. More Englishes. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

—. 1998. Even More Englishes. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

—. 2002. Still More Englishes. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hernández Campoy, Juan Manuel and Juan Antonio Cutillas Espinosa. 2010a. "Speaker Design Practices in Political Discourse: A Case Study.” Language and Communication 30: 297-309.

—. 2010b. “Hypervernacularization and Speaker Design: A Case Study.” Folia Linguistica 44 (1): 31-52.

—, eds. 2012. Style Shifting in Public. New Perspectives on Stylistic Variation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hopkins, Tometro, ed. 2013. World Englishes. London: Bloomsbury.

House, Juliane. 2002. “Developing Pragmatic Competence in English as a Lingua Franca.” In Lingua Franca Communication, edited by Karlfried Knapp and Christiane Meierkord, 245-268. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Jenkins, Jennifer. 2000. The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford UP.

—. 2002. “A Sociolinguistically Based, Empirically Researched Pronunciation Syllabus for English as an International Language.” Applied Linguistics 23 (1): 83-103.

—. 2007. English as a Lingua Franca: Attitude and Identity. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Jenkins, Jennifer, Alessia Cogo and Martin Dewey. 2011. “Review of Developments in Research into English as a Lingua Franca.” Language Teaching 44 (3): 281-315.

Kachru, Braj. 1985. “Standards, Codification and Sociolinguistic Realism: The English Language in the Outer Circle.” In English in the World: Teaching and Learning the Language and Literatures, edited by Randolph Quirk and Henry G. Widdowson, 11-30. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Kachru, Braj, Yamuna Kachru and Cecil L. Nelson, eds. 2006. The Handbook of World Englishes. Oxford: Blackwell.

Kirkpatrick, Andy. 2010. The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes. London: Routledge.

Lamarca, Eva and Patricia de Pablo. 2013. “Entrevistamos a Terrence Burns, el gurú que entrenó a Ana Botella para el discurso olímpico.” Vanity Fair, September 2013. [Accessed online on February 21, 2017].

McArthur, Tom. 1998. The English Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Meierkord, Christiane. 2002. “‘Language Stripped Bare’ or ‘Linguistic Masala’? Culture in Lingua Franca Conversation.” In Lingua Franca Communication, edited by Karlfried Knapp and Christiane Meierkord, 109-133. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Melchers, Gunnel and Philip Shaw. 2003. World Englishes. London: Arnold.

O’Neal, George. 2015. “ELF Intelligibility. The Vowel Quality Factor.” Journal of

English as a Lingua Franca 4 (2): 347-358.

Seargeant, Philip. 2012. Exploring World Englishes: Language in a Global Context. London: Routledge.

Seidlhofer, Barbara. 2001. “Closing a Conceptual Gap: The Case for a Description of English as a Lingua Franca.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics 11 (2): 133-158.

—. 2010. “Giving voice to English as a Lingua Franca.” In From International to Local English—and Back Again, edited by Roberta Facchinetti, David Crystal and Barbara Seidlhofer, 147-163. Bern: Peter Lang.

Walker, Robin. 2010. Teaching the Pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford: Oxford UP.