Englisches Seminar

Applied English Linguistics (Kurt Kohn)

TELF - Tübingen English as a Lingua Franca

The TELF (Tübingen English as a Lingua Franca) corpus is a collection of video-recorded and transcribed discussions by mixed groups of four to six native and non-native speakers of English from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Each discussion lasts about 20 minutes and is followed up with introspective interviews addressing the participants’ learning history, English requirement profile, and performance in the discussion.

The ensuing combination of conversational ELF output and introspective accounts allows for differentiated insights into the nature of ELF communication; it provides rich examples of how speakers use their “own English” to cope with the communicative challenges of a lingua franca situation. Drawing on TELF-data, our research focuses on divergences between meaning and comprehension, co-construction and monitoring, and “pushing” one’s limits of expression.

The discussions, thematically focusing on the “Midwestern intercom problem”, were conducted with the help of graduate students of Applied English Linguistics at the University of Tübingen. The corpus currently consists of 25 discussions (ca. 80,000 words) with around 100 speakers from more than 25 different linguistic backgrounds. The material is also available for students’ research projects.