World Englishes?

English is not the most widely spoken language in the world, despite what you once thought. Mandarin comes in first with over 800 million speakers, Spanish in second with 400 million speakers and a close third of English with 300 million speakers.

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In England, only speaking one language (monolingual) is the norm. Therefore it is easy to forget that throughout the rest of the world the norm is speaking multiple languages (bilingual).  English is also seen as a lingua franca (ELF) which means that it is a common language amongst speakers who come from different linguistic backgrounds.

Streven’s world map of English (1980) illustrates the dominance of English and the difference between British English and American English. Therefore the use of the noun “Englishes” can be used as it has been transformed into many different ways by technology and coining.

 

One of the most influential models for considering this term is Braj Kachru’s (1992) three circles model. Examples:

Inner circle varieties (Canadian English – Has two national languages which are English and French and is a mixture of both such as the distinctive vowel pronunciation and the lexis of ‘washroom’ ‘grade one’. )

Outer circle varieties (Indian English – After the British empire, English was seen to be well embedded in India such as syllable timed, not stress timed and the grammatical use of Wh- questions.)

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3 thoughts on “World Englishes?

  1. Oh I have read these models. But will you please give me the research link of the fact that English is not the most spoken language? I always thought it is. And I’ll be glad to read that how it is not.

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    • It’s difficult in the extreme to say how many people speak a language as what does it mean to be able to speak a language? IOs it asking for a beer or holding down a philosophical debate?
      However, most lists ordered by number of speakers put English as second to Mandarin Chinese (due to the huge number of mother tongue speakers of the latter and huge number of second language speakers of the former); if a similar list is made of total number of mother tongue speakers, Mandarin Chinese remains top but English is pushed into third by Spanish.

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