In this critical essay, Yumi Matsumoto uses the concept of English as a lingua franca to understand multilinguals’ communicative practices and to support an alternative understanding of English language use among international students in US university classrooms. The essay draws on two examples of university classroom interactions involving non-native international students’ English use and considers them through both more traditional perspectives on second language acquisition and an English as lingua franca approach, which analyzes communicative practices without making assumptions about students’ status as either native or non-native English speakers. These cases suggest that multilingual international student English use is transforming the notion of “Englishes,” specifically multiple English language norms and communicative practices in US university classrooms. By understanding international students’ communicative practices and valuing how they communicate and achieve understanding through different Englishes, Matsumoto asserts, we can provide better educational support for multilingual international students and empower them.

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