Introduction to World Englishes


There are many languages within the globe. The English language is a west Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England, but now it is spoken all over the world! In 2006 there were 360-400 million native speakers of the English language. Can it be said that there is more than one version of the English language?

We have seen the journey of the English language throughout the years, from its Anglo-Saxon origin, to the current place it is at now. English is spoken all over the world, and debates have occurred if “English” is a big enough word, or if its just an umbrella term to describe the different types of English?

English can not be seen as the dominant of the English. The ratio of British English speakers than there are English speakers around the world, and those are the people who have taken the English language and adapted it to their own needs, there is no right or wrong way to use the English Language due to it having so many users.

The difference between first and second language speakers of the English language is that the second language speakers adapt the language to their own use. Kachru (1992)  devised a model to try to show the world Englishes

220px-kachrus_three_circles_of_englishHis model was put together before the Internet and the Media were popular, and it doesn’t explain the diversity of the Englishes within the circle which is a negative point. English is a Lingua Franca (which means that it is being used as a common language amongst speakers who come from different linguistic backgrounds)


Jennifer Jenkins (2006) points to five key characteristics of ELF

  • It is used by speakers of different languages allowing them to communicate with each other
  • It is an alternate to English as a foreign language rather than a replacement for it
  • ELF may include innovations that might characterise local varieties of English
  • Linguistic accommodation and code-switching are seen as useful strategies in ELF
  • The language of proficient ELF users tends to be used for description for the purposes of possible codification.

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