ENGLISH AS AN
INTERNATIONAL
LANGUAGE
Part 1
 Sandra Lee McKay: Teaching English as an
International Language
INTRODUCTION
ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE
To be considered an international
language, a language cannot be
linked TO ANY ONE COUNTRY
OR CULTURE; rather, it must
belong to those who use it.
Hence, the typical relationship
that exists btw culture and
language needs to be reexamined.
This relationship needs to be
examined with reference
- to the teaching of discourse
competence
- The use of cultural materials in
the classroom
- The cultural assumptions that
inform teaching methods
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The question of whose discourse
rules to apply in the use of EIL will be
problematic. Some of the central
issues are:
-SHOULD THOSE WHO USE EIL BE
ASKED TO ACQUIRE NATIVE
SPEAKERS’ STANDARDS IN BOTH
SPOKEN AND WRITTEN
INTERACTIONS?
- SHOULD THEY EMPLOY
STANDARDS CONSISTENT WITH
THEIR OWN CULTURE?
- IF ENGLISH IS APPROACHED AS AN
INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE,
WHOSE CULTURE OF LEARNING
SHOULD BE USED?
Cultural topics
Currently, many ELT materials use cultural
topics related to native English-speaking
countires on the grounds that learning
English should entail knowledge of native
English-speaking cultures.
Is such an approach appropriate in the
teaching of an international language?
What do you think?
1. ENGLISH AS AN
INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE
DEFINING AN INTERNATIONAL
LANGUAGE
For some, an international language is
equated with a language that has a
large number of native speakers.
In this sense
Mandarin,
English,
Spanish,
Hindi, and
Arabic,
the 5 most widely spoken mother
tongues in the world today, might be
considered international languages.
However, only if spoken by a large
number of native speakers of other
languages, the language can serve
as a language of wider
communication.
English is, in this sense, the
international language par
excellence.
A language achieves global status
when it develops a “special role
that is recognized in every
country” and this special status
can be achieved either by :
a)making it an official language of
the country or
b) by a country giving special
priority to English by requiring its
study as a foreign language.
Crystal (1997): Some countries that give special status to
English:
American Samoa
Antigua and Barbuda
Australia
Bahamas
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belize
Bermuda
Bhutan
Botswana
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Canada
Dominica
Fiji
Ghana
Gibraltar
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Grenada
Hong Kong
India
Ireland
Jamaica
Kenya
Liberia
Malawi
Malaysia
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Micronesia
Namibia
Nepal
New zealand
Pakistan
Philippines
Puerto Rico
…and more:
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Rwanda
St Luca
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Solomon islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Tanzania
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
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Uganda
United Kingdom
Uk island (Channel Is, Man)
United States
US Virgin Islands
Western Samoa (now Samoa)
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Total population: 2,024,614,00
Usage estimate:
L1 337,407,300
L2 235,351,300
Categorisationa of countires in which English is
used:
(Kachru)
INNER CIRCLE
L1
L2
OUTER CIRCLE
Studied as a foreign language
EXPANDING CIRCLE
Inner, Outer and Expanding Circles
 Inner Circle: e.g. USA, UK, Austarlia
(320-380 million)
 Outer Circle: e.g. India, the Philippines,
Singapore
(150-300 million)
Expanding Circle: e.g. China, Japan,
Germany
(100-1000 million)
The roles English serves
 The various roles English serves in different countries
of the world are best conceived of in terms of three
concentric circles:
 A) the Inner Circle, where E is the primary language of
the country
 B) the Outer Circle, where E serves as a second
language in a multilingual country, and
 C) the Expanding Circle where E is widely studied as a
foreign language.
Features of an international language
 “International language” – the language which is used by people of
different nations to communicate with one another.
 Important assertions regarding THE RELATIONSHIP OF AN
INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE AND CULTURE:
- Its learners do not need to internalize the culutral norms of native
speakers of that language
- The ownership of an international language becomes
“de-nationalized”
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The educational goal of learning it is to enable learners to
communicate their ideas and culture to others
English as an international language
As an international language, E is used both in a global sense for
international communication btw countries and in a local sense as
a languge of wider communication within multilingual societies.
The use of E is no longer connected to the culture of Inner Circle
countires.
In a local sense, E becomes embedded in the culture of the country
in which it is used.
In a global sense, one of tis primaary functions is to enable
speakers to share with others their ideas and culture.
FINALLY…
…an international language
spreads not by speakers of that
language migrating to other
areas but rather by many
individuals acquiring the
language.
Reasons for the spread of English
1 MACROACQUISITION
(Brutt-Griffler’s model):
MACROACQUISITION
International language spreads not through speaker migration but
rahter by many individuals in a speech community acquiring the
language.
Language spread by speakers migration results typically in the
development of largely monolingual English-speaking
communities (US, New Zealand, Australia).
Macroacquisition, in reference to Englsih, has occurred largely in
Outer Circle countries but even in some Expanding Circles
countires. The result is not monolingualism but rather large-scale
bilingualism.
Microacquisition and its implications
First, it means that the study of E as an
international language must involve an
investigation of bilingualism in both Outer and
Expanding Circle countires, rather than on
LANGUAGE SHIFT (moving to the Inner Circle
countries);
Second, because the current spread of E entails
macroacquisition, the focus of investigation
must be on bilingual E speech communities
rather than on individual language learners.
2. URBAN MIGRATION
There is one type of migratin today that may be a significant factor in the
continued growth of E today – urban migration.
The most rapid urbanization today is taking place in the developing world
where in Asia alone bw 1994 and 2025 there is likely to be an increase of
more tha 20% in the urban population.
Urban areas are typically the focus for linguistic change.
They are also important points for language contact and diversity, and they
encourage the growth of a middle class who become consumers of the
global material culture.
URBANISATION has importan effects on language demography. New
languages emerge, others change, some are lost; new patterns of English
uses will arise among second-language speakers.
3 MORE REASONS FOR THE SPREAD OF
ENGLISH – past and present
a) IN THE PAST
Colonialism, speaker migration, and new technology
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19th and 20th century British and American coloialism and the
migration of English-speaking individuals to other areas
Briatin becoming the world’s leading industrial and trading nation
(beginning of the 19th century)
b) CURRENT SPREAD AND THE MICROACQUISITION OF
THE LANGUAGE WITHIN EXISTING SPEECH
COMMUNITIES
The current uses of Englsih in various intellectual, economic, and cultural
arenas:
- International organizations: of 12 500 international organizations listed
in the Union of International Associations’ Yearbook, 85% make official
use of E.
- Motion pictures: in the mid 1990s, the US controlled about 85% of the
world film market.
- Popular music: of the pop groups listed in The Penguin Encyclopedia of
Popular Music, 99% of the gropus work entirely or predominantly in E.
- Publications: more books are published in E than in any other language.
- Communications: about 80% of the world’s electronically stored
information is in E.
- Education: in many countries E plays a significant role in higher
education.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF THE SPREAD OF ENGLISH
 The threat to existing languages
 The influence on cultural identity
 The association of the language with and
economic elite
CONCERNS:
The dominance of E:
many individuals learn E because they want access to such things
as scientific and technological information global economic trade,
and higher education.
Many concerns are raised in relation to the negative economic
repercussions of the spread of English. One of the primry
concerns in this regard is the strong relationship btw economic
wealth and proficiency in the language, and the role that language
education policy and practices play in promoting this.
Tollefson (1991)…
…notes that, because E is typically acquired in school context, this
situation can lead to significant social inequalities. As he puts it,
Those people who cannot afford schooling, who do not have time to
attend school, who attend substandard programmes, or who
otherwise do not have access to effective formal education may
be unable to learn E well enough to obtain jobs and to participate
in decision-making systems that use E.
Because education is a major concern of the state, this fundamental
shift in the manner of acquisition means that state policies play a
decisive role in determining who has acess to the institutions of
the modern market and therefore to political power. This shif to
school-based language learning is a worldwide phenomenon, and
so language policy plays an important role in the structure of
power and inequality in countries through the world.
Kachru…
…“Knowing English is like possessing the fabled
Aladdin’s lamp, which permits one to open, as it
were, the linguistic gates to international
business, technology, science and travel. In
short, E provides lingustic power.”
Check your understanding
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What is necessary for a language to be an international language?
Who does an international language belong to?
When does a language achieve a global status and how is it achieved?
The categorisation of the countries where E is spoken is…(Kachru)?
What is the role of E in those countires?
What are the features of an international language?
What is the educational goal of learning it?
What is EIL in a local and global sense?
What is a language spread by migration?
What is a microacquisition?
What is a language shift?
What is urban migration?
What are historical and current reasons for the spread of English?
What are the negative effects?
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What are the concerns raised in relation to the negative economic
repercussions of the spread of English (Tollefson) – explain!?
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ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE