The English Language Today: What? Where? Why? How? How much?

Open lecture by Michał Paradowski.


English has now established itself as a language learnt predominantly for interaction with other non-native users. The talk will commence with a presentation of the areas of daily life where the language has become prevalent, and the reasons behind these developments. We shall then interrogate the concepts of a native speaker (NS) and of ‘proper’, ‘Standard English’, examining whether the latter is a viable model for most students. We will discuss how non-native users adapt and variably alter English ad hoc to suit their communicative purpose, thus preserving their identity without striving to mimic NSs’ conventions. These considerations will steer us towards a discussion of the implications for language pedagogy, and the assets of non-native speaker teachers. The talk will conclude with recommendations for academic instruction and the translation and interpreting profession.

Michał B. Paradowski is an associate professor at the Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw, a teacher and translator trainer, and an ELT consultant for television. His interests include English as a lingua franca, second and third language acquisition research, foreign language teaching, embodied cognition, educational technology, and complexity science. To this date he has given over 130 invited lectures, seminars and workshops in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. His recent edited volumes are Teaching Languages off the Beaten Track (2014) and Productive Foreign Language Skills for an Intercultural World (2015); his latest (2017) monograph appeared under the title M/Other Tongues in Language Acquisition, Instruction, and Use.