ELFA vs. Genre: A new paradigm war in EAP writing instruction?

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Genre approaches to English for Academic Purposes (EAP) writing instruction have recently been challenged by proponents of what is claimed to be a new paradigm for EAP – English as a Lingua Franca Academic (ELFA). From an ELFA perspective, EAP programmes are described as unfairly imposing national or native models on non-native speakers of English, and the genre-based paradigm which informs many EAP writing instruction programmes is characterised as conforming to rather than challenging the status quo. This paper looks critically at this characterisation, drawing on recent research literature and the first stage of a larger empirical study of published academic writing in scientific communication and associated communities of practice. Conclusions reported here indicate that an ELFA paradigm which depends on dichotomies such as Native Speaker (NS) vs. Non Native Speaker (NNS), or NS vs. ELFA is, at the very least, open to question as a starting point for the development of EAP writing programmes. By contrast, a Genre informed paradigm which draws on an apprentice vs. expert dichotomy is considered to offer a more useful basis for both syllabus design and pedagogy in EAP writing instruction. (186 words).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-44
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Academic writing
  • Corpus
  • EAP
  • ELFA
  • Genre analysis
  • Higher education
  • Lingua franca


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