Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 6(6), pp. 298 - 306
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2018.060605
Reprint (PDF) (198Kb)

Strategies of Address in English Lingua Franca (ELF) Academic Interactions

Maicol Formentelli *
Department of Humanities, University of Eastern Piedmont, Vercelli, Italy


The paper describes the address practices reported by students and lecturers from three English-taught master’s degrees organised at a small Italian university where English is used as a lingua franca (ELF) of communication. The main aim of the study is to ascertain whether and how the multilingual and multicultural composition of the ELF classroom influences participants in their choice of address strategies in English. The findings show two main patterns of address in the ELF courses: 1) an asymmetrical, non-reciprocal use of address strategies, in which lecturers take an informal and familiar stance (T-forms), while students tend to express deference and respect (V-forms); 2) a reciprocal, symmetrical use of V-forms that encodes formality and mutual respect. While informality is promoted by lecturers as part of the policies of the master’s programmes, some students and lecturers show resistance to the use of familiar address terms and favour formal strategies to convey respect to the interlocutor. The informants’ comments recorded in the questionnaires reveal that participants’ cultural backgrounds, previous experience in their home universities, and assumptions about the interlocutor’s cultural expectations play a significant role in shaping address practices in ELF academic courses.

Address Practice, English Lingua Franca (ELF), Academic Interaction, Intercultural Communication, Deference, Informality, Formality

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Maicol Formentelli , "Strategies of Address in English Lingua Franca (ELF) Academic Interactions," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 298 - 306, 2018. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2018.060605.

(b). APA Format:
Maicol Formentelli (2018). Strategies of Address in English Lingua Franca (ELF) Academic Interactions. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 6(6), 298 - 306. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2018.060605.