Exploring Corporate Websites as a Setting for ELF Research: The Case of Ostrobothnian Export Companies
According to Jennifer Jenkins (2004: 63), the essential distinction between the use of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and that as a lingua franca (ELF) lies in their interlocutors' native language. Speakers (themselves non-native speakers) of EFL use their English chiefly to communicate with native speakers (NSs) of English, often in NS settings, while speakers of ELF use English to communicate primarily with other NNSs of English. In what follows, I will explore how these criteria would be met by the use of English on Finnish corporate websites, and, consequently, their suitability as a setting for ELF research. As my material, I have used the websites of 16 Finnish Ostrobothnian export companies. If websites are seen as communication which incorporates mass and interpersonal communication via one medium and which provides the possibility of reciprocal information exchange with two sets of users, it may be possible to distinguish between EFL and ELF settings. Finally, I have also identified some features which I suggest could be submitted to further study as ELF features of English in Finnish corporate websites.