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Interpretation of meaning in transnational communication in lingua franca English

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2016. Vol. 5. No. 4. Pp. 394-402.
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Melezhik K. A.
Institution of Foreign Philology, Taurida Academy, V. I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University
4, Ac. Vernadsky Av., 295007 Simferopol, Crimea


In the article, the problem of speech understanding/misunderstanding between non-native speakers using English as lingua franca (EFL) is discussed. It is argued that the mechanism of EFL discourse comprehensibility and interpretability can be explained basing on Shannon’s model of information exchange, which is constructed of sender and receiver, message, two channels, coding and decoding of information, mutual feedback, noise and context. A malfunction of one or more of these components may result in “language noise” or interruption of intelligibility of speech. In ELF communication malfunction of these components provokes deviations from language norms in pronunciation, grammar structure and semantics. Recurrent deviations in EFL speech production can increase or reduce noise in the coding and/or decoding channel and, correspondingly, in the information processing. Following Jenkins’ classification of kernel and non-kernel phonological deviations in EFL speech, the author maintains that the kernel deviations increase noise only if they are present in one channel and absent in the other one. If they are inherent to both speakers’ production they don’t hinder intelligibility. Non-kernel deviations affect intelligibility by the same pattern though in a weaker mode. It is claimed that comfortable intelligibility in transnational communication does not necessarily require standardization of norms and high ELF proficiency of speakers.


  • • transnational communication
  • • English as lingua franca
  • • intelligibility
  • • Shannon’s model


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