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The ChangE (Changing English) consortium is a collaboration between three Finnish universities:

University of HelsinkiUniversity of Eastern FinlandUniversity of Tampere

with funding from:

Academy of Finland

Changing English consortium:
users & learners worldwide

English is unquestionably the global lingua franca of the present time. It has spread more widely and is spoken by more people than any other language previously, which has drastically changed its status in the last few decades. In such a dynamic landscape, multiple research perspectives are needed for an integrated understanding of the users and learners of English around the world today.

The Changing English (ChangE) consortium combines the methodological strengths of three Finnish universities. Led by Prof. Anna Mauranen (University of Helsinki), Prof. Juhani Klemola (University of Tampere), and Prof. Markku Filppula (University of Eastern Finland), the three ChangE teams collaborate toward a comprehensive view of global English. Our first collaboration, the Global English (GlobE) consortium, was funded by the Academy of Finland from 2010 to 2013, culminating in the Changing English conference held in Helsinki in June 2013.

Like our consortium, the ChangE conference brought together English scholars from multiple research perspectives, with a focus on World Englishes, contact linguistics, second-language acquisition (SLA), and English as a lingua franca (ELF). The ChangE 2013 conference further formed the basis for a renewed collaboration. With additional funding from the Academy of Finland for 2014-2017, the Changing English consortium will develop and extend these international research networks. A follow-up conference, ChangE 2015, will be held in Helsinki from June 8-10, 2015 (view the call for papers).

Research objectives

The vast majority of English speakers use English as a second or foreign language, its varieties include a number of World Englishes, and it is the most widely learned foreign language in the world; the distinction between 'native' and 'non-native' has begun to lose much of its earlier meaning.

The predominance of non-native use of English means that it is increasingly spoken in environments that are inherently multilingual, typified by speakers seeking to establish sufficient common ground for achieving successful communication without making the assumptions normally expected from L1 speech. English features strongly among today’s highly mobile speakers, subjecting it to particularly intense and varied language contact. Since periods of increased mobility have tended to lead to accelerated language change, we can expect fast changes in English(es).

Our main objective is to bring together different strands of research for discovering currently undergoing changes in the English language. We hypothesise that one of the major forces behind the developments observed in today’s changing English is rooted in the cognitive constraints of multilingual processing. Identifying cognitive mechanisms underlying global language use gives rise to further hypotheses about future developments in Global English. At the same time, given that global language use is a unique phenomenon in itself, analysing the cognitive mechanisms underlying it can make a significant contribution to our understanding of human cognition and language processing in general.

A further hypothesis we make and set out to test is that Global English has become a truly pluricentric language in the late 20th century in which a number of regionally relevant norm-developing centres have emerged and, furthermore, that these areal epicentres of influence play a considerable role in the formation and development of the English language in neighbouring areas. Another line in the proposed research sets out to examine the validity of the hypothesis that ‘learner English’ exhibits features that are essentially similar to what have come to be known as ‘angloversals’, i.e. linguistic features shared mostly, but not exclusively, by varieties spoken in the Outer and Expanding Circles of English.

About this site

Use the menu on the left to find more information about our research teams and the corpora we are developing and currently using in our work. We also collaborate with several international partners who support our lines of investigation. Information is available on ChangE members' publications and conference presentations, along with our consortium seminars and earlier projects. To learn more about the Change 2015 conference, please visit the conference website, which is also linked from the site's header.


This site last updated: 27.5.2015
Ray Carey (ray.carey(at)helsinki.fi)