World Englishes
Jennifer Jenkins
A resource book for
students
C. Exploration
Current debates in
World Englishes
C1: Postcolonial America and Africa
English Only in the US

Increase in multi-ethnicity:
Growing population of ethnolinguistic minorities

Reversal of policy for education in immigrants’ L1s

‘Proposition 227’ (1998)
–
–



Obligatory immersion program
‘Sink or swim’
Alienation from own first language and culture
Social isolation
Loss of cultural identity
C1
English in Africa: Nigeria
A case of linguistic imperialism?

Bisong (1995)
–
–
–

English has not displaced indigenous languages
English only one factor in a multicultural society
English used by African creative writers: self-assertion, not
victimisation
Phillipson’s response (1996)
–
–
–
–
African languages marginalised in favour of English
Promotion of English to de-emphasise ethnicity
African literature in English not accessible for 90 per cent of
population
Choice of English-medium education owing to neglect of
state schools
C1
C2: Creole developments in the UK
and US: London Jamaican




A combination of Jamaican Creole and a local form
of non-standard English
Powerful marker of group identity
Shows grammatical, phonological and lexical
features of Jamaican Creole
Also shows features of London English which do not
occur in Jamaican Creole
C2
Ebonics



Also known as Africa-American Vernacular English
(AAVE)
No agreement on how it developed
Debate about its status and the approach to be
taken in schools
—
Oakland school board: Ebonics regarded as valid linguistic
system and as second language, used as language of
instruction
—
Strong reactions: many opposed this approach, some were in
favour
C2
C3: Teaching and testing World
Englishes: teaching English today
Challenging the premise that NS is best teacher:
 NS is expert informant, but not necessarily expert
instructor (Widdowson 1994a)
 NNS teachers and students have shared experience
of learning English  asset (Seidlhofer 1999)
but:
Authority of NS teacher still upheld in teaching
materials
NS teachers still sought most
C3
Testing English today

Students still measured against NS norms (also in
international English tests)
 washback effect on classroom practices
 features which are ‘standard’ in local (Outer and
Expanding Circle) contexts but not in the Inner Circle
are regarded as deviations and errors (Lowenberg
2000, 2002)
 rethinking of teaching and testing goals?
C3
C4: Emerging ‘sub’-varieties:
Singlish
Singlish = Colloquial Singapore English (CSE)
 Differs from Standard Singapore English (SSE)
 Not clear whether CSE and SSE are continuum or
two distinct varieties (Deterding 2007)
 Fear that use of Singlish among children might affect
literacy
 Main difference from Standard English is syntactic,
lexis is dominated by English (Gupta 1999)
C4
Singlish

Grammar
–
–
–
Verb features: e.g. past tense not marked, no present tense
-s suffix, copula dropped to describe states
Noun features: e.g. non-count nouns treated as count,
indefinite article dropped, relative clause with different word
order and one
Sentence structure: e.g. subject dropping, conjunction
dropping, use of pragmatic particles lah and ah
C4
Singlish

Pronunciation
e.g. avoidance of th-sounds, less distinction between long
and short vowels, rhythm very syllable-timed

Lexis
–
–
–
–
Borrowing from other Singaporean languages (e.g. Hokkien,
Malay)
Shifted meaning (e.g. stay for long-term residence)
Conversion: verbs to adjectives (e.g. blur ‘confused’), nouns
to verbs
Idiomatic forms peculiar to Singapore (e.g. love letters
C4
‘flaky, tube-shaped biscuits’)
The politics of Singlish

Speak Good English Movement (SGEM) (2000)
–
–
–
–
–
–
Promotion of SSE
Use of Singlish discouraged
Concerns about international intelligibility  economic
imperative
Sociolinguists (e.g. Schneider 2007) have different view:
concerns about falling standards are common in
postcolonial contexts
Rubdy (2001): Singlish is symbol of cultural identity
Wee (2002): SGEM is an attempt to eliminate Singlish 
breach of linguistic human rights
C4
Estuary English (EE)
Rosewarne 1996
 Accent variety between Cockney and RP
 Pronunciation features
–
–
–
–
–
–

Word final ‘t’ replaced with glottal stop
L-vocalisation
Lengthening of final vowel sounds
Dropping of yod in words like ‘assume’
Syllabic consonants avoided by insertion of schwa
th-fronting
Might replace RP or be absorbed into RP (thus
changing RP)
C4
Estuary English (EE) – a variety?
Challenges to Rosewarne’s account of EE:





Fails to take into account intraspeaker variation, i.e. adjusting
accent to context (Maidment 1994)
EE is StE with non-RP, London-influenced accent (Wells 1998)
EE as ‘inaccurate myth’ (Trudgill 2002): not a variety but a
lower middle-class accent, unlikely to replace RP because not
taught in schools
Not a variety but a set of levelled accents or dialects (Kerswill
2007)
A number of distinct accents, not a single and definable variety,
is part of more general changes which are not exclusive to the
British Isles (Przedlacka 2002)
C4
C5: Standards across channels
Differences between speech and writing:

Three approaches (Baron 2000):
–
–
–

Opposition view
Continuum view
Cross-over view
Continuum between ‘typical speech’ and ‘typical
writing’ (Leech et al. 1982)
C5
Grammar of spoken (British) English
Carter and McCarthy 1995:
Features identified on the basis of CANCODE corpus




Heads (or left dislocation)
Tails (or reinforcement)
Ellipsis
Word order
C5
E-discourse / emails



Features of both speech and writing
Email as ‘speech by other means’ (Baron 2000)
Differences in style depending on context,
addressee, age, sex, L1
e.g. features of texting especially used by young emailers

Potential blurring of L1/L2, NS/NNS distinction
 Reflect on your own practices
C5
C6: The nature of English as a lingua
franca (ELF)


ELF is used in contexts in which speakers with
different L1s (mostly, but not exclusively, from
Expanding Circle) need it as their means to
communicate with each other
ELF is an alternative to EFL rather than a
replacement for it – depends on speaker’s (or
learner’s) individual needs and preferences
C6
English as a lingua franca (ELF)
EFL
ELF
Part of modern foreign
languages
Part of World Englishes
Deficit perspective
Difference perspective
Metaphors of transfer /
interference / fossilisation
Metaphor of contact / evolution
Code-mixing and switching are
seen as interfererence errors
Code-mixing and switching are
seen as bilingual resources
Kirkpatrick (2007b) adapted from Jenkins (2006c)
C6
English as a lingua franca (ELF)



ELF involves linguistic innovations that differ from
ENL and which, in some cases, are shared by most
ELF speakers.
ELF involves the use of certain pragmatic
communication strategies, particularly
accommodation and code-switching. ELF forms
crucially depend on the specific communication
context.
Descriptions of ELF that may lead to codification are
drawn from communication involving proficient ELF
C6
speakers.
ELF features

Lexicogrammar (Seidlhofer 2004)
e.g. ‘dropping’ third person –s, interchangeable use of who
and which, flexible use of articles, invariant tag questions,
additional prepositions, frequent use of verbs with high
semantic generality, heightened explicitness

Collaborative behaviour in interaction
e.g. supportive interruptions, positive minimal responses,
repetition, completion of the interlocutors sentences

Pronunciation
C6
ELF features

Pronunciation (Jenkins 2000)
–
Lingua Franca Core (LFC)
consonant sounds except th-sounds and dark ‘l’, vowel
–
length contrasts, avoidance of consonant deletion at the
beginnings of words, placement of nuclear stress
Non-core features
e.g. vowel quality, weak forms, assimilation, elision,
word stress
C6
ELF processes


ELF features are the result of processes similar to
the ones affecting ENL
Additional factors in ELF
–
–

language contact on a massive scale
intercultural communication
Acceleration of processes
Attitudes towards ELF
still scepticism/rejection among many linguists and ELT
professionals
C6
C7: Asian Englishes in the Outer and
Expanding Circles: Indian English






One of the two highest populations of English
speakers
British colonial history
After independence in 1947: attempt to replace
English by Hindi, but English remained ‘associate’
official language
Indian English identity, complementary relationship
with indigenous languages
Varietal characteristics
Mixed acceptance of English as an Indian language
C7
Hong Kong English


Hong Kong: British colony since 1842, special
administrative region of China since 1997
Hong Kong English
–
–
–
–
–
Position as accepted variety is not secure
British English still aspired to (also teaching model –
importing of NS teachers)
Distinct lexical items
At stage three in Schneider’s (2003) five-stage model for
the evolution of New Englishes
Might be further influenced by Cantonese and Mandarin
C7
China English




A variety?
Lexical, grammatical and phonological features
Growing acceptance among the Chinese
Growing importance
–
–
Likely to become most common variety of English in Asia
High number of speakers
C7
C8: Language killer or language
promoter?: English as killer language


Global spread of English as a cause for language
death
Some positions/beliefs associated with why
languages become endangered:
–
–
–
–
–
Primitive technology equals primitive linguistic means
Linguistic survival of the fittest (social Darwinism)
Immigrants are encouraged to abandon their language
Linguistic capital – promise of economic advantages make
a language worthy of acquisition
Western school curricula in developing countries 
devaluation of traditional knowledge and culture
C8
English-knowing bilingualism



Important role in prevention of language death
The de facto norm apart from monolingual Inner
Circle English speakers
Would be crucial for predominantly monolingual
ENL societies to embrace this concept
–
–
–

Becoming multilinguals
Development of intercultural competence
Acceptance of immigrant minorities
Reversing the traditional hierarchy of Englishes
C8
Descargar

World Englishes Jennifer Jenkins