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The emergence of Eastern European English

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Abstract

The status of English in the Expanding Circle has been of significant interest in recent years. The use of English by Slavic speakers in Post‐Communist space, especially in light of the EU enlargement, has nevertheless been largely ignored. This paper aims to present evidence of the emergence of Eastern European English (EEE) in European language contact situations. The questions addressed in the study are, first, how Slavic speakers of English render a temporal‐aspectual plane in a lingua franca discourse, and, second, what constitutes an authentic lexical mosaic of EEE. Spoken production data (Tübingen Corpus of EEE: 60,000 words) and introspective data were elicited from fifteen native speakers of Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Slovak. The analyses suggest that EEE is indeed emerging. In contrast to native speakers of English, Slavic speakers possess a limited repertoire of English tenses. The English simple past and the past progressive, for example, are used to render Slavic categories of imperfective and perfective aspect. Eastern European English seems to be a product of an interrelation of various speaker‐specific dimensions, such as the speakers’ L1, and their communicative competence in L3.

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