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Browsing by Author "Truong, Van"

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  • Truong, Van (2021)
    The current study is an exploration of native Finnish-speaking Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students’ attitudes toward English as a lingua franca (henceforth ELF). The author of this thesis, like many ELF scholars, harbors serious concerns about the issues of language attitudes and prestige vis-à-vis ELF. The aims of this study are to shed some light on the current situation of language attitudes toward ELF among Finnish degree students, raise awareness of ELF and its implications, and make a contribution to ELF research. A total of 116 native Finnish-speaking Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students at Finnish universities participated in an online survey. The survey was designed to investigate attitudes toward ELF with Likert-scale questions and the Verbal-guise Technique. In addition to the quantitative measurements, qualitative data on the participants’ understandings of ELF and their open-answer comments on the ELF speakers in the selected audio samples were collected in the survey. The findings of this study show that Finnish degree students indicated a good awareness of ELF in general. Overall, the participants had neutral preconceptions of ELF speakers. Furthermore, their attitudes after listening to the ELF speakers in the selected audio samples showed that nativeness is not the superior key to successful ELF communications. In addition, accentedness did not hamper intelligibility. Thus, success in meaning-making and mutual intelligibility should be of higher importance than sounding like a native speaker. Familiarity with the ELF speakers’ accents had a positive influence on the participants’ attitudes toward the ELF speakers themselves. To avoid the opposite scenario, it is important for educators to accommodate students with authentic learning materials that help increase exposure to English speakers with different first languages. This study provides empirical evidence showing that there is some success in raising awareness of ELF in Finland, yet there remains some room for improvement. Importantly, there should be a rethinking of English learning goals and teaching approaches. As increasingly more people participate in ELF interactions, more emphasis should be placed on how to build mutual intelligibility, how to utilize communication strategies to succeed in meaning-making, and how to empower English speakers regardless of their first languages.