ABSTRACT

One of the primary purposes of this book was to move the centre of attention of English lingua franca research from Europe/Asia to the (South) African context and to show the complexity of its sociocultural and political ambiguity in this space. While this book is a manifestation of the vitality and vibrancy of African languages, it still suggests that English is likely to be one of South Africa’s primary lingua francas for the years to come. The argument of this book is that ambiguity is one of the primary features of English as a lingua franca by showing that language, race, and, to a lesser degree, ethnic and gender identity mutually constitute each other. In decolonizing language scholarship, and ELF in particular, Africa and its diaspora have important roles to play. The entanglement of ELF communication in processes of racialization, racial positioning, and racism requires more attention in dismantling the whiteness of English that also accompanies its lingua franca status. If English continues to develop as a multi and translingua franca not only in South Africa but globally it might offer a platform on which other languages and cultures can receive recognition and thus provide the potential to deconstruct this whiteness. This study does not offer any descriptive or applied framework of how English ‘should’ ideally be used and understood in racially mixed lingua franca communication, but it makes an appeal to break with rigid ideologies of what English as a lingua franca ought to be by unthinking its Eurocentric root.