Challenging Linguistic Norms in a Global Era: The Use of English in Local Contexts

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2020)
Title: Challenging Linguistic Norms in a Global Era: The Use of English in Local Contexts
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture, Inter/Multiculturalism & Language
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Margaret Gomes, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Gillian Moreira, University of Aveiro, Portugal


Over the last decades English has become a language increasingly used in local contexts as a lingua franca to communicate with other non-native English speakers. Globalisation, increased mobility and intercultural/linguistic contact, communication technology and greater access to information have enabled English to become a facilitator of global communication. At the same time, people and places have become more plurilingual, which has had an impact on English, as well as on the languages it comes into contact with. In this context, English borrowings have become increasingly popular, particularly among young people, who are particularly connected to English through technology and popular culture and use linguistic choice to assert their own sense of group identification and belonging. As such, youth practices are challenging traditional norms, which sometimes results in linguistic change. The aim of this paper is to present some of the findings of our research into how Portuguese university students use English borrowings in their native discourse and how this connects with identity construction among young people in a global age. Our research shows that English is integrated into the everyday discourse of young people, who feel empowered to use it, not only for global communication, but also as part of their personal linguistic repertoires.