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Mediating communication – ELF and flexible multilingualism perspectives on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Constant Leung, Jennifer Jenkins

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-41
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
Early online date30 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2020


King's Authors


The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a major international benchmarking resource used for curriculum development and assessment. The elaboration of the concept of multilingual mediation in the 2018 Companion Volume of the CEFR is a timely addition to the original publication in 2001. Amongst other things, it acknowledges an important aspect of contemporary language communication. In this article we examine the ways in which multilingual mediation is characterized and operationalized in the rating scales and the associated descriptors. We argue that some significant dimensions of mediation, such as emotional intelligence, can only be understood in context and they cannot be easily rated on any exonormative scale. Drawing on data from English as a Lingua Franca research, we show that the tendency to portray mediation as largely concerned with cross-lingual information transfer is a partial capture; it misses the agentive richness in multilingual communication that can dynamically open up semantic spaces and generate fluid discourse interactions. We suggest that there is room for more flexible reckoning of mediation to allow for situated language sensibilities and practices in discourse interaction.

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