Is English a big enough title to describe its current status or is this just the core word with different variations branching off from it? English is not the most widely spoken language with Mandarin taking the top spot with 800 million native speakers beating English’s mere 300 million native speakers. However, English is still used on a massive global scale as a first, second or foreign language.
The difference between those who use it as a first or second language, is that the ones who are using it as a secondary language, have adapted it for their own use, picking parts of the English language to take on and mix it with their own language to create their own branch of the English language.
One of the most influential and recognised models for considering world English’s was devised by Braj Kachru (1992). The ‘Three Circles’ model was devised in 1992, before the rise of the Internet, which establishes World English’s. However, his model doesn’t address diversity of English’s and can be seen to suggest judgments about ‘better’ usage. Canadian English has both aspects of British English and American English, reflecting the influence of culture. The language has been affected heavily by English, American and French influences including spellings, phonology, lexis and grammar. Indian English is embedded into Indian life, culture and literature however when it comes to speech this is where it differs; in terms of phonology, for example Indian speakers have little distinction between /b/, /v/ and /w/.
English as a lingua franca (ELF) refers to English being used as a common language among speakers who have different first languages. Jennifer Jenkins (2006) has developed 5 characteristics of ELF:
- Allows communication among a range of people.
- An alternate to English as a Foreign Language rather than a replacement for it.
- Include innovations that characterise local varieties of English as well as ‘correct’ English.
- Useful in code-switching and linguistic accommodation.
- Used for description for the purposes of possible codification.