ELF and academic writing: A perspective from the Expanding Circle

Hafdís Ingvarsdóttir, Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Scant attention has been paid to written academic ELF and international scholars' perceptions of coping with writing academic papers in English. Available studies seem to have an ENL stance with a few exceptions. This article describes the views of Icelandic academics on using English in their scientific pursuits. The findings are based on a survey administered to faculty members at the University of Iceland where English has historically had a high profile as a utility language. The survey was followed up with interviews with ten academics. The findings indicate that even though respondents claim that their general English is good, the majority confess to an added workload and needing assistance with their academic English. Despite pressure from the university to increase international publication where ENL writing standards seem to be the only accepted norm, no official writing support is offered. It is not clear whether writing in English increases competitiveness when the writing does not meet ENL norms. The results call for more discussion on the appropriateness of adhering to ENL standards by journals to which non-native users of English contribute. The results also highlight the need for more emphasis in ELF research on the nature of written ELF academic discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-145
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of English as a Lingua Franca
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.

Other keywords

  • academic writing
  • attitude study
  • characteristics of written academic ELF discourse
  • internationalisation in higher education


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