Miscommunication in Using English as a Lingua Franca

Abstract

English is now widely used as a lingua franca in international communication. Communication is a collaboration of all its participants. Although mutual understanding is commonly assumed during interaction, miscommunication is inevitable. ELF communication, with its interactants from diversified lingua-cultural backgrounds, is assumed to be susceptible to communication breakdowns. To verify this assumption, some empirical studies on ELF miscommunication are reviewed. It is found that miscommunication is infrequent in ELF communication and ELF interactants proactively employ communication strategies to preempt and repair understanding problems to ensure mutual understanding.