Interview with Tomokazu Ishikawa

author of "EMF awareness in the Japanese EFL/EMI context"

  1. What is the importance of Global Englishes (GE) for English language teaching (ELT)? 

I’d tend to think from a slightly different perspective(!): What is the importance of ELT without GE? An increasing number of people learn to use English for global communication. Anglophone speakers may also need to learn how to use English as a global lingua franca effectively. Empirically, English and multilingual resources are used dynamically and contextually while transgressing ideological linguistic boundaries. The same flexibility and adaptability inhere in cultural resources and meaning making modes. GE opens up the door to a holistic understanding of communication among English users who are often multilinguals and usually speak English as their additional language.


  1. What does your research say about GE and future ELT practices?

One way to implement GE is “EMF awareness” (Ishikawa, 2020 in press, see Q3 below; for English as a Multilingua Franca or EMF, see Jenkins, 2015) or the awareness of English-within-multilingualism in this age of mobility. Conceptual understanding, motivational attitudes, and communicative practices are integrated in EMF awareness which facilitates opportunities for students to engage in global encounters with English users and examine not only their first hand experiences but also published GE extracts in the classroom. Ishikawa (2020) concludes by suggesting that “ELT practitioners should always be sensitive to this EMF awareness which enlightens, empowers, and emancipates, subverting the ideological monolingualism that still circulates in many societies”.

  • Jenkins, J. (2015). Repositioning English and multilingualism in English as a Lingua Franca. Englishes in Practice, 2(3), 49–85.


  1. What kind of research has been covered in your publications?

I have published on English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) mainly in relation to multilingualism, language attitudes and ideologies, and ELT/English medium instruction (EMI). My single or first authored papers over the past year are:


  • Ishikawa, T. (2020). Complexity of English as a Multilingua Franca. In M. Konakahara & K. Tsuchiya (Eds.), English as a lingua franca in Japan (pp. 91-109). Palgrave Macmillan.

Language attitudes and ideologies

  • Ishikawa, T. (2021 in press). Rigour in ELF language attitude research. In K. Murata (Ed.), ELF research methods and approaches to data and analyses (pp. 258-275). Routledge.


  • Ishikawa, T. (2020 in press). EMF awareness in the Japanese EFL/EMI context. ELT Journal, 74(4).
  • Ishikawa, T. (2020). Liven up the English classroom with academic learning. Center for English as a Lingua Franca Journal, 6, 67-77.
  • Ishikawa, T., & McBride, P. (2019). Doing justice to ELF in ELT. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 8(2), 333–345.


  1. Why did you focus on Global Englishes in Japan?

It’s the context with which I’m the most familiar! Also, unlike in multilingual communication scenarios today, across Japanese (and other similar) contexts, instructors and all students frequently share their mother tongue in ELT and EMI. Such an L1-shared scenario is untypical outside Japan, and not yet thoroughly operationalised in ELF enquiry. While ELF research normally targets “any use of English among speakers of different first languages” (Seidlhofer, 2011: 7), communication among English-knowing multilingual speakers of the same L1 is a potentially interesting area of research. I’d tend to think that we need to shift away from the English language itself and L1 status to understand global communication.


  1. What kind of research project are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on both the conceptualisation of multilingualism in Jenkins’ (2015) notion of EMF and the pedagogic applications of translanguaging in the Japanese ELT/EMI context (for translanguaging, see Li Wei, 2018). Hopefully, both papers will be out in 2021. In addition, I’m involved in co-editing an Asian Englishes 2021 special issue on English in Japan. Last, but not least, Dr Will Baker (University of Southampton, UK) and I are co-authoring a Routledge coursebook on transcultural communication which will be available in 2021.

  • Li, W. (2018). Translanguaging as a practical theory of language. Applied Linguistics, 39(1), 9-30.


  1. What sort of research topics should be dealt with in future GE projects?

This website consists of two sections, GE and EMI, and there will be the potential for productive crossover between these two research areas. Also, in line with the first handbook of ELF (Jenkins et al., 2018), GE topics which need further exploration would include defining the ontologies of language attitudes and language itself, addressing surging migration, and updating language assessment. I’d like to stress that no GE publications in my knowledge lend support to the current fit-for-all model of internationally commercialised English tests. In this regard, our language assessment may need to overcome monolingual bias and employ a closer focus on the potential of meaning making resources.

  • Jenkins, J., Baker, W., & Dewey, M. (Eds.). (2018). The Routledge handbook of English as a lingua franca. Routledge.
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