World Englishes
Jennifer Jenkins
A resource book for
students
A. Introduction
Key topics in World
Englishes
A1: The historical, social and political
context

English as a first language (L1)
- 329,140,800 speakers (cf. Crystal 2003a)

English as an institutionalised second language (L2)
- 430,614,500 speakers (cf. Crystal 2003a)

English as a foreign language (EFL)

English as a lingua franca (ELF)
A1
The two diasporas of English

First diaspora
-
Migrations to North America, Australia, New Zealand, South
Africa
L1 varieties of English = ‘new Englishes’

Second diaspora
-
Colonialisation of Asia and Africa
L2 varieties of English = ‘New Englishes’
-
A1
A2: The origins of pidgin and creole
languages

Definition pidgin
A pidgin is a language with no native speakers: it is
no one’s first language but is a contact language.
(Wardhaugh 2006: 61–3)

Definition creole
In contrast to a pidgin, a creole is often defined as a
pidgin that has become the first language of a new
generation of speakers.
(Wardhaugh 2006: 61–3)
A2
Pidgins
-
-
-
-
Stigmatisation as inferior, ‘bad’ languages
European expansion into Africa and Asia during
colonial period
Contact languages between ‘dominant’ European
language speakers and speakers of mutually
unintelligible indigenous African and American
languages
Fulfils restricted communicative needs between
people who do not share a common language
Little need for grammatical redundancy
A2
Creoles
Creolisation: development of a pidgin into a creole
A: children of pidgin speakers use their parents’ pidgin
language as a mother tongue  creole
B: pidgin is used as a lingua franca in multilingual
areas and develops to be used for an increasing
number of functions  creole
- Vocabulary expands and grammar increases in
complexity
Decreolisation: through extensive contact with the
dominant language develops towards standard
A2
dominant language
Theories of origins
Three groups of theories
1 Monogenesis: pidgins have a single origin
2 Polygenesis: pidgins have an independent origin
3 Universal: pidgins derive from universal strategies

A2
Monogenesis
The theory of monogenesis and relexification:
-All European-based pidgins and creoles derive
ultimately from one proto-pidgin source, a Portuguese
pidgin that was used in the world’s trade routes during
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
-Evidence for this theory: many linguistic similarities
between present-day Portuguese pidgins and creoles,
and pidgins and creoles related to other European
languages
A2
Polygenesis
The independent parallel development theory:
-Pidgins and creoles arose and developed
independently, but in similar ways because they shared
a common linguistic ancestor
-Pidgins and creoles were formed in similar social and
physical conditions
A2
Polygenesis
The nautical jargon theory:
A nautical jargon, i.e. the European sailors’ lingua
franca, formed a nucleus for the various pidgins,
which were expanded in line with their learners’
mother tongues
Evidence for this theory: nautical element in all
pidgins and creoles with European lexicons
A2
Universal
The baby talk theory:
-Based on similarities between certain pidgins and early
speech of children
-Also because speakers of the dominant language use
foreigner talk (simplified speech) with L2 speakers
A2
Universal
A synthesis:
-Based on universal patterns of linguistic behaviour in
contact situations
-Inherent universal constraints on language
-Evidence for this theory: proficient as well as less
proficient speakers from different L1s and speech
communities simplify their language in very similar
ways; children go through the same stages in the
mastery of speech
A2
A3: Who speaks English today?

Three groups of users:
Those who speak English respectively as
- a native language = ENL
- a second language = ESL
- a foreign language = EFL
 Neat classifications become increasingly difficult
A3
Who speaks English today?

English as a Native Language (ENL)
-
-
Language of those born and raised in one of the countries
where English is historically the first language to be spoken (i.e.
mainly the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand)
~ 350 million speakers

English as a Second Language (ESL)
-
Language spoken in a large number of territories which were
once colonised by the English (e.g., India, Nigeria, Singapore)
~ 350 million speakers
-
A3
Who speaks English today?

English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
-
Language of those for whom it serves no purposes within their
own countries
Historically, EFL was learned to use the language with its
native speakers in the US and UK
~ 1 billion speakers with ‘reasonable competence’
-
-
A3
Difficulties with the three-way categorisation





ENL is not a single variety of English
Pidgins and creoles do not fit into the categorisation.
There are large groups of ENL speakers in ESL
territories and vice versa.
It is based on the concept of monolingualism, but bior multilingualism is the norm.
It is based on the basic distinction between native
speakers and non-native speakers, with the first
group being considered superior regardless of the
quality of their language.
(cf. McArthur 1998)
A3
Models of the spread of English





Strevens (1980): World map of English
Kachru (1985/1988): Three-circle model of World
Englishes
McArthur (1987): Circle of World English
Görlach (1988): Circle model of English
Modiano (1999): The centripetal circles of
international English
A3
Three circle model of World Englishes
Kachru (1992: 356)
 Most useful and influential model
 World Englishes divided into three concentric circles:
1 Inner Circle:
~ ENL countries, ‘norm-providing’
2 Outer Circle:
~ ESL countries, ‘norm-developing’
3 Expanding Circle:
~EFL countries, ‘norm-dependent’
A3
Limitations with Kachru’s model






Based on geography and history, rather than the speakers’ use
of English.
Grey area between Inner and Outer Circles as well as Outer
and Expanding Circles.
The world’s bilingual or multilingual speakers are not taken into
account.
Difficulty of using the model to define speakers in terms of their
proficiency in English.
Does not account for the linguistic diversity within and between
countries of a particular circle.
The term Inner Circle implies that speakers from ENL countries
are central, and may thus be interpreted as superior.
A3
A4: Variation across Outer Circle
Englishes
New Englishes
Four defining criteria by Platt, Weber and Ho (1984)

1.
2.
3.
4.
It has developed through the education system.
It has developed in an area where a native variety of English
was not the language spoken by most of the population.
It is used for a range of functions among those who speak or
write it in the region where it is used.
It has become ‘localised’ or ‘nativised’ by adopting some
language features of its own (e.g., sounds, intonation patterns,
sentence structures, words, expressions).
A4
Innovation in English

Five internal factors to decide the status of an
innovation (Bamgbose 1998):
1
2
3
4
5
Demographic factor (how many speakers use it?)
Geographical factor (how widely dispersed is it?)
Authoritative factor (where is its use sanctioned?)
Codification (does it appear in reference books?)
Acceptability factor (what is the attitude towards it?)
A4
Levels of variation

Main levels of variation: pronunciation, grammar,
vocabulary/idiom, discourse style

Pronunciation
Consonant sounds, e.g., dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/
-
Vowel sounds: vary across the New Englishes in
terms of both quality and quantity
A4
Levels of variation

Grammar
-
a tendency not to mark nouns for plural
a tendency to use a specific/non-specific system for nouns
rather than a definite/indefinite system, or to use the two
systems side by side
a tendency to change the form of quantifiers
a tendency not to make a distinction between the third person
pronouns he and she
a tendency to change the word order within the noun phrase
(cf. Platt, Weber and Ho 1984)
-
-
-
A4
Levels of variation

Grammar

limited marking of the third person singular present tense form
limited marking of verbs for the past tense
a tendency to use an aspect system (which shows whether an
action is finished or still going on) rather than tense system
(which shows the time an action takes place)
a tendency to extend the use of be + verb + ing constructions to
stative verbs
the formation of different phrasal and prepositional verb
constructions
(cf. Platt, Weber and Ho 1984)




A4
Levels of variation

Vocabulary/Idiom

Locally coined words/expressions
Prefixation (e.g., enstool, destool)
Suffixation (e.g., teacheress, spacy)
Compounding (e.g., key-bunch, high hat)
Borrowings from indigenous languages
Idioms
Direct translations from indigenous idioms (e.g., to shake legs)
Variation on native speaker idioms (e.g., to eat your cake and
have it)
Combination of English and indigenous forms (e.g., to put sand
A4
in someone’s gari)


Levels of variation

Discourse style
-
Formal character
Complex vocabulary and grammatical structure
Specific expressions of thanks, deferential vocabulary and the
use of blessings
Greeting and leave-taking
-
-
-
A4
A5: Standard language ideology in the
Inner Circle





Standard language
Term used for that variety of a language which is
considered to be the norm.
Prestige variety: spoken by a minority of those
occupying positions of power within a society
Yardstick against which other varieties of the
language are measured
Held up as optimum for educational purposes
A5
Standard language and language standards

-
-
-
Language standards
Prescriptive language rules which constitute the
standard to which all members of a language
community are exposed and urged to conform during
education.
Reverse side of the standard language coin
Because natural languages are dynamic, these rules
are subject to change over time.
During earlier and transitional stages, language
change is regarded as error by promoters of
A5
standard language ideology.
Standard language and language standards
‘[…] standard languages are the result of a direct and
deliberate intervention by society’ (Hudson 1996: 32)

1
2
3
4
Four stages of this process of intervention
Selection
Codification
Elaboration of function
Acceptance
A5
What is Standard English?
1
2
The dialect of educated people throughout the British Isles. It
is the dialect normally used in writing, for teaching in schools
and universities, and heard on radio and television (Hughes
and Trudgill 1979, repeated in the 2nd ed., 1996)
The variety of the English language which is normally
employed in writing and normally spoken by ‘educated’
speakers of the language. It is also, of course, the variety of
the language that students of English as a Foreign or Second
Language (EFL/ESL) are taught when receiving formal
instruction. The term Standard English refers to grammar and
vocabulary (dialect) but not to pronunciation (accent).
(Trudgill and Hannah 1982, and repeated in the 4th ed., 2002).
A5
What is Standard English?
3
4
Standard English can be characterized by saying that it is that
set of grammatical and lexical forms which is typically used in
speech and writing by educated native speakers. It … includes
the use of colloquial and slang vocabulary as well as swearwords and taboo expressions (Trudgill 1984).
(The term) ‘Standard English’ is potentially misleading for at
least two reasons. First, in order to be self-explanatory, it really
ought to be called ‘the grammar and the core vocabulary of
educated usage in English’. That would make plain the fact
that it is not the whole of English, and above all, it is not
pronunciation that can in any way be labelled ‘Standard’, but
only one part of English: its grammar and vocabulary
(Strevens 1985).
A5
What is Standard English?
5 Since the 1980s, the notion of ‘standard’ has come to the fore in
public debate about the English language … We may define the
Standard English of an English-speaking country as a minority
variety (identified chiefly by its vocabulary, grammar and
orthography) which carries most prestige and is most widely
understood. (Crystal 1995, repeated in the 2nd ed., 2003).
6 Traditionally the medium of the upper and (especially professional)
middle class, and by and large of education […] Although not
limited to one accent (most notably in recent decades), it has been
associated since at least the 19th century with the accent that,
since the 1920s, has been called Received Pronunciation (RP),
and with the phrases the Queen’s English, the King’s English,
Oxford English, and BBC English (McArthur 2002).
A5
Standard English: what it isn’t





It is not a language: it is only one variety of a given English.
It is not an accent: in Britain it is spoken by 12–15% of the
population, of whom 9–12% speak it with a regional accent.
It is not a style: it can be spoken in formal, neutral and informal
styles, respectively.
It is not a register: given that a register is largely a matter of
lexis in relation to subject matter (e.g. the register of medicine,
of cricket, or of knitting), there is no necessary connection
between register and Standard English
It is not a set of prescriptive rules: it can tolerate certain
features which, because many of their rules are grounded in
Latin, prescriptive grammarians do not allow. (cf. Trudgill 1999)A5
Standard English





A dialect
That differs from other dialects in that it has greater
prestige
That does not have an associated accent
That does not form part of a geographical
continuum.
It is a purely social dialect.
(Trudgill 1999)
A5
Non-standard Englishes


Non-standard native English varieties
New Englishes: standard and non-standard varieties
 Implicit belief that New Englishes are result of fossilisation
A5
A6: The spread of English as an
international lingua franca


-
-
Ambivalent attitude towards English as an
international lingua franca
Reasons for the international status of English:
Historical reasons
Internal political reasons
External economic reasons
Practical reasons
Intellectual reasons
Entertainment reasons
Personal advantage/prestige
(Crystal 1997)
A6
Mutual intelligibility and group identity

Intelligibility and identity: two opposing forces
Mutual intelligibility: accent differences decrease
Identity: accent differences increase
A6
A7: The roles of English in Asia and
Europe
Europe
Expanding Circle
Asia
Outer Circle
Emerging Euro-English
Asian Englishes
Bi- and multilingual contexts
‘Linguistic orphans’ (Kachru 1992)
A7
English as an Asian language

Regional categorisation
-
-
South Asian varieties
Southeast Asian and Pacific varieties
East Asian varieties

Functional categorisation
-
Institutionalised varieties (Outer Circle)
Non-institutionalised varieties (Expanding Circle)
-
-
A7
English in Europe

European Union (EU):
-
23 official languages
3 dominant languages: English, French, German
English = the de facto European lingua franca
Emerging features (Seidlhofer, Breiteneder, Pitzl 2006)
Nativisation processes
-
-
A7
A8: The future of World Englishes


Language distribution vs. language spread
(Widdowson 1997)
Difficulties inherent in the English language:
-
Orthographic
Phonological
Grammatical

Spanish as the principal world language:
-
Increasing influence in the EU and America
Simpler pronunciation, spelling and verb system
-
-
A8
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