Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

World Englishes

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World Englishes refers to the different varieties of English and for emerging localized or indigenized varieties of English, especially those territories influenced by the United Kingdom or the United States. The study of World Englishes entails of classifying varieties of English used in varied sociolinguistic contexts globally and analyzing how histories of sociolinguistic, multicultural backgrounds and function contexts influence in different regions of the world the use of English.

Today, we live in a society which is multilingual for wherever you go, you will be able to meet diverse groups of people who speak individually different tongues. At the same time is when we interact with people from different countries, we hear English with a variety of fluency which often differs from the so-called standard English in terms of pronunciation, lexis, expression and grammar (Kubota, 2001).

Kashmiri-American linguist Braj B. Kachru, the research pioneer on these linguistic variations and claimed World Englishes in 1986 initially to refer to the institutionalized varieties of English (Hornberger & McKay, 2010). The term World Englishes is now used to define or describe the nativized and diverse ranges of English spoken in non-native countries, and Kachru (1986) explains that the spreading of English can be categorized into a three concentric circle model that represents the spread and growth of English in the world.

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In the field of Applied Linguistics, it has been invaluable for researchers to come to grasps with the implications of the omnipresent, highly composite and scary existence of the language. According to Kachru (2003), the world is divided into different circles: the inner circle, countries like United Kingdom, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia where English is the L1 or native language, outer circle, countries like Singapore and Philippines which is a community with large speech, great diversity and distinct characteristics while the expanding circle, Chile and Holland which English is an international language where performance varieties were characterized.

English may vary or performs in different ways according to the situations, settings, or contexts in which English employed by the speakers from the three circles mentioned. The world Englishes are the result of these diverse sociocultural contexts and diverse uses of the language in culturally distinct international contexts.

The agony in world Englishes is the "Torn between the norms"- the conflict about whose norm should be followed or legitimized from the different varieties in the face of a checkerboard of English use in the world today. They are the ones who have not had an opportunity to study or learn the language and may not be in a state of ecstasy. The ecstasy: English is everywhere, but not available for all people. It gives privileges to those who learned the language formally in schools or acquired it in an early age.

The following approaches, in recent years have been used to study world Englishes: (1) the deficit approach; (2) the deviational approach; (3) the contextualization approach; (4) the variational approach; and (5) the interactional approach. The first two approaches have dominated the field out of the five approaches and believed to be the least insightful. The following are just merely a commentary of the issues which are given the utmost importance for our understanding of English in its world context.

The following are thus a critique primarily of the two approaches, and that such approaches reflect in the attitudes. (1) Ontological Issues: Conflict between idealization and reality. The issues of attitudes and identity is the core of the problem which attitudes are only partially determined toward a variety of English by linguistic considerations. With concern in the varieties of English, there are two major positions in the Outer Circle: first, the nativist monomodel position, second the functional polymodel position.

The monomodel position is well-articulated in two studies; one by Clifford Prator (1968) and by Randolph Quirk (1988) which is almost a generation apart when presented. Quirk sees language range mainly with reference to three models: the demographic, the econo-cultural, and imperial. In the demographic model, population spread together with the language and resulted in several varieties of English in the Inner Circle.

The econo-cultural, it says that language spread even though there is no serious population spread. The imperial model, the spread of the language is the result of political (colonial) domination. The last two models resulted in the endocentric varieties of English in Africa, Asia, and the Philippines over a period of time (see e.g. Kachru 1982 and 1986a).

The endocentric models are what Quirk's concerns, and their instructions or teaching implications, the English international currency, and generally, the English language good linguistic health. As to the serious practitioners of applied linguistics, it raises a number of questions relevant to them. The second position relates the formal and functional characteristics of English to appropriate sociolinguistic and interactional contexts.

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World Englishes. (2018, Aug 27). Retrieved from

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