chapter  2
17 Pages

ELF, Bilingualism and Multicompetence

This chapter suggests that many of the linguistic strategies attributed to lingua franca English (LFE) or ELF users, including language mixing, are actually common to most bilinguals and multilinguals. Quite apart from intentional transfer and code-switching, multilinguals experience non-intentional, automatic transfer or crosslinguistic influence from not-totally-deactivated languages. A great deal of research suggests that bilinguals establish mental links between stored representations of words in different languages, and that there is a semantic influence of one language on the processing of others. Multilingual competence requires a lot of language management, and the more languages spoken, the more maintenance needed to guarantee homeostasis, and 'multilinguals appear to find maintaining and managing more than one language quite a challenge'. Conscious borrowing, calquing and code-switching by fluent bilinguals are generally the result of semantic decisions: one language seems to express something better than the other, possessing the right turn of phrase or le mot juste.