The Lingua Franca Core and the Polish learner


Jolanta Szpyra-Kozłowska (Lublin)



The paper examines and evaluates one of the most hotly debated and controversial recent proposals in the area of  English pronunciation pedagogy - Jennifer Jenkins’s (2000) Lingua Franca Core (LFC) – a selection of phonetic features which, according to her, should constitute didactic priorities in the teaching of English as an international language. The analysis is carried out from the perspective of the Polish learner (and teacher). More specifically, we  inquire into the issue to what extent this model is pedagogically feasible in the Polish context and whether it fulfills its promise to provide a more realistic syllabus for pronunciation teaching.


We argue that the LFC comprises many features which, on the one hand,  diminish the teaching/learning load for Poles, but on the other hand, constitute no simplification of this task at all. Of all the elements of the LFC the omission of the dental fricatives, rhotic pronunciation, general disregard for vowel quality, rhythm,  intonation and weak forms are the major elements that can contribute to the easier acquisition of English phonetics, whereas insistence on preserving vowel length (contextually determined in particular), aspiration, the velar nasal, the long schwa, the glottal fricative and native articulatory setting can be seen as the main difficulties and most objectionable aspects of this model from the perspective of the Polish learner of English. Some features of the LFC are questioned on grounds of phonetic universals and the frequency of certain segments in languages of the world.