The role of English in scientific communication: Lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus rex?

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200 Scopus citations


The use of English as an international language of science (EILS) is by now well documented; depending on one's orientation, English may be seen as a neutral lingua franca or it may be seen more insidiously as a dominating and overpowering force. This paper explores these co-existing roles of EILS through various perspectives. It begins by outlining conversations regarding EILS found in the literature of applied linguistics and the scientific community. The paper then turns to the perspective of international graduate students studying at an American university through a small-scale questionnaire and focus group interview study that attempts to understand these students' attitudes toward English and its role in scientific communication. Findings from the study are discussed in light of published conversations of EILS and implications for an EAP classroom that aims to recognize the dual roles of English in scientific communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-269
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • English for academic purposes
  • English in science
  • World englishes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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