English as an International Language in the Military: A Study of Attitudes

  • Concepción Orna-Montesinos University of Zaragoza


This paper reports on the findings of a national-based survey of perceptions and attitudes towards the use of English in the Spanish armed forces. Drawing on the theoretical assumption that knowledge of the social, textual and generic motives of professional communication is only available to expert members of a discourse community, the survey inquires into the discourse practices and procedures of the military community in Spain, their established ways of transmitting information in texts in English, the genre sets that they use and the communicative events they are involved in. Survey findings show that the growing internalization process undergone by the Spanish armed forces has been paired with the use of English as the lingua franca of international communication in this professional context. The important implications of the predominance of English as the workplace language for the personal and professional development of these professionals are discussed in the light of the results.