Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2666-8882
  • E-ISSN: 2666-8890



English-medium instruction (EMI) universities in non-English-dominant contexts often use internationally available tests of English (e.g., TOEFL) and/or locally developed tests to assess the academic English-language proficiency of applicants prior to admission. However, little research has been conducted to establish the extent to which either type of test reflects the real-world classroom discourse, and associated communicative demands, within these often multilingual educational contexts. In this paper, we report on one part of a larger study designed to address this research gap in a particular EMI environment – the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon. We collected and analysed samples of language use at AUB through non-participant ethnographic observations and video recordings of eight undergraduate classes across academic disciplines. Findings indicated that classes were varied in nature, shifted between registers and levels of interaction, involved a range of translanguaging and English as a Lingua Franca-oriented phenomena, and included meta-commentary about language use. We argue that speaking and listening constructs in English-language admissions tests used in EMI contexts ideally need to be localised or locally developed to best match the unique language use characteristics of these settings.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

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