English as a Lingua Franca and Multilingualism


The course is suitable for students who are currently planning or already conducting their master’s studies, as well as doctoral students and language professionals who have an interest in ELF and multilingualism.


English has become a global language of intercultural communication and is used worldwide as a contact language between people who do not share a common native language. At the same time, the spread of English to areas such as academia, business, diplomacy, sports and even personal relationships has raised questions about the ‘other’ linguistic resources we use alongside or instead of English.

In this course, we examine the phenomenon of English as a lingua franca (ELF) from the perspective of multilingualism. Students will be introduced to developments in the field of ELF, with particular focus on approaching ELF within the framework of multilingualism. We will also discuss different approaches to multilingualism and consider how research on multilingualism increasingly operates with notions such as (trans)languaging that shift the perspective from separate definable languages to processes of meaning making. Our aim is to consider these developments in the light of ELF research.

We consider ELF and multilingualism from various perspectives, with a focus on the multilingual repertoires of ELF users, the manifestation of multilingualism in micro-level ELF interaction, as well as ELF and its implications to, for instance, institutional language policies. We will pay attention to questions of language choice but also to those of language quality, and investigate not only the use of different linguistic resources but also the mechanisms of monitoring, intervening in and managing language use in various contexts.

The course consists of interactive lectures taught by a range of experts in the field who approach the theme of ELF and multilingualism from different perspectives and in different contexts (ranging from academia and business to family contexts). Each lecture topic will be further developed with students in a collaborative workshop format.

For more information about research conducted on and around the course topic at the University of Helsinki, see the English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings (ELFA) and Language Regulation in Academia (LaRA) project websites:


The course teachers and lecturers are all specialists in ELF and/or conduct research related to the course theme.

Professor Anna Mauranen (University of Helsinki) is one of the pioneers of ELF research. She is a versatile scholar with broad expertise on the course theme. She is co-editor of Applied Linguistics, and former co-editor of the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca (JELF).

Dr Kaisa Pietikäinen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Professional and Intercultural Communication, NHH Norwegian School of Economics. Her research focus is on ELF and multilingualism in the private sphere. In her current research, she applies conversation analysis to studying communication practices developed in long-term relationships between ELF speakers from varied backgrounds.

Dr Tiina Räisänen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. She does longitudinal research in the field of business ELF, with focus on the construction of professional communicative repertoires and individuals’ socialisation into global working life.

Hanna-Mari Pienimäki, MA, is a doctoral student in the Language Regulation in Academia (LaRA) project at the University of Helsinki. Her research deals with the ways in which language professionals use and also regulate language in an academic environment.

Dr Svetlana Vetchinnikova is a lecturer in applied linguistics at the University of Helsinki. Her research work centres on language patterning at different planes of its organisation and the underlying processing mechanisms, especially in second language users.

The course is organised by Dr Niina Hynninen, who works as a senior lecturer at the University of Helsinki. She has published on spoken academic ELF, with particular focus on language regulation, and her current research focuses on researchers’ multilingual practices and the regulation of English-medium research writing.


Upon completion of the course, the students are expected to:
• be acquainted with concepts relevant to the course theme (such as ELF, multilingualism, code-switching, translanguaging)
• be able to demonstrate familiarity with developments in the fields of ELF and multilingualism research
• be able to explain how multilingualism manifests in ELF
• be able to explain some of the mechanisms of language regulation that influence language practices
• have gained hands-on experience of working with authentic linguistic data and of applying different research methods to analysing the data
• be able to conduct a small-scale research project on a topic related to the course theme


The course format consists of two 90-min. sessions on each day of the course, one in the morning (10.15–11.45) and one in the afternoon (13.15–14.45), with a lunch break in-between. In the mornings, the students will typically attend lectures, and in the afternoons, they will get a chance to apply their newly obtained knowledge in workshops. The interactive activities of the afternoons will include discussions, group work, hands-on experience with analysing linguistic data, mini-research studies in groups or individually on a computer, exercises and tasks. We will use snippets of real research data at our workshops to provide an authentic academic experience.


Pass/fail on the basis of attendance, active participation, individual project work in the form of case studies, final project presentation.

In the individual project, each participant will carry out a small research project of their own choice, with the following components:

(a) a written summary of the project (1000–1500 words) to be handed in on Tuesday, 13 Aug. Each participant will get feedback and suggestions from the instructors and their peers on Friday, 16 Aug.
(b) a presentation of the project during the last meeting on Thursday, 22 Aug.

More details of the individual project will be discussed during the first meetings, including suggestions for topics and data that might be used, but because of the intensive nature of the course, the students are encouraged to think of possible topics already before the course starts.


City Centre Campus

Preliminary schedule (pdf)


Accepted students will receive a list of recommended literature before the course, covering different areas of ELF and multilingualism. Some items on this list will be obligatory preparatory reading before the course. The course also includes a pre-course task. Instructions for the task as well as most of the literature, including the obligatory readings, will be made available through a Moodle environment specifically set up for the course and restricted to the course participants.