Helsinki Summer School

Program Description


Helsinki Summer School

PLEASE NOTE! This course was held in 2015, new courses will be arranged in 2017

Target Students

The course is suitable for students at Master’s and Doctoral levels as well as language professionals who have an interest in English studies, general linguistics or language teaching and assessment.


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. Non-native speakers of English are increasingly using the language with each other in areas such as academia, business, diplomacy, sport and personal relationships. How does this new sociolinguistic situation affect the language itself? This course looks at linguistic questions around the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF). Students will get hands-on experience with features of authentic ELF data and explore the ways in which cognitive properties of multilingual processing can explain them. The course will move from linguistic investigations to conclude with the implications of ELF research for language teaching and testing.

The course content is structured around a series of lectures by several ELF researchers, with each lecture topic developed with students in a collaborative workshop format. Strategies for successful communication in a lingua franca will be discussed throughout the course. Topics such as cross-linguistic interference, multilingual resources, code-switching, approximate forms in second language use, and accommodation strategies which are important for successful communication in international settings will be taken up. Different linguistic databases used in our own ELF research will also be employed in the course.

For more information on our research and resources, see the ELFA project webpages:helsinki.fi/elfa or the ELFA project research blog.

Learning objectives

The students will get acquainted with the concept of ELF and its theoretical background. They will think of the implications of ELF research for the future of English as well as its applications for language teaching and testing. In addition, they will get hands-on experience of working with linguistic databases, applying corpus methodology as well as doing qualitative analysis of interaction.

Course format and teaching methods

Lectures, language labs, discussions, group work, mini-research studies, exercises and tasks, field work, final group project presentation

Teachers and lecturers

Prof. Anna Mauranen is one of the pioneers of ELF research and director of the ELFA project (English as a lingua franca in academic settings; www.helsinki.fi/elfa). She is currently serving as vice-rector of the University of Helsinki. Her 2012 book, Exploring ELF: academic English shaped by non-native speakers (Cambridge University Press), analyses the ELFA corpus of spoken academic ELF and provides the theoretical foundations for the course.

Dr. Svetlana Vetchinnikova is a post-doctoral researcher in the Changing English project at the University of Helsinki. Her work centres on language patterning at different planes of its organisation and the underlying processing mechanisms, especially in second language users.

Dr. Jaana Suviniitty is an educational developer at Aalto University School of Science. Her research has focused on the comprehensibility of lectures in academic ELF settings and the pedagogical implications of academic ELF research.

Ray Carey, MA is a PhD student in the ELFA project and currently compiling a new corpus of written academic ELF, the WrELFA corpus, under the direction of Anna Mauranen. His research interests focus on the linear modelling of language and describing fluency in academic ELF interactions. He maintains the ELFA project research blog.

Means and criteria of assessment

Pass/fail on the basis of attendance, active participation, project work (case studies in groups), final group project presentation.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated June 30, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
17 days
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
Finland Helsinki
Application deadline Request Info
End date Aug. 18, 2017
Duration 17 days
Price Request Info