English as a global language

David Crystal causes the English language fit to become a global language. What arguments does he put forward? With millions of popular intuitions at a level which had simply not existed a decade before. These are the kinds of statement which seem so obvious that most people would give them hardly a Second thought . Of course English is a global language, they would say. You hear it on television Spoken by politicians from all over the world. Wherever you travel, you see English signs and Advertisements. Whenever you enter a hotel or restaurant in a foreign city, they will understand English, and there will be an English menu. Indeed, if there is anything to wonder about at all, they might add, it is why such headlines should still be news worthy. But English is news. The language continues to make news daily in many countries. And the headline isn?t stating the obvious. For what does it mean, exactly? Is it saying that everyone in the world speaks English? This is certainly not true, as we shall see. Is it saying, then, that every country in the world recognizes English as an official language? This is not true either. So what does it mean to say that a language is a global language? Why is English the language which is usually cited in this connection? How did the situation arise? And could it change? Or is it the case that, once a language becomes a global language, it is there forever? These are fascinating questions to explore, whether your first language is English or not. If English is your mother tongue, you may have mixed feelings about the way English is spreading around the world. You may feel pride, that your language is the one which has been so successful; but your pride may be tinged with concern, when you realize that people in other countries may not want to use the language in the same way that you do, and are changing it to suit themselves. We are all sensitive to the way other people use (it is often said, abuse) ?our? language. Deeply held feelings of ownership begin to be questioned. Indeed, if there is one predictable consequence of a language becoming a global language, it is that nobody owns it any more. Or rather, everyone who has learned it now owns it ? ?has a share in it? might be more Why a global language? accurate ? and has the right to use it in the way they want. This fact alone makes many people feel uncomfortable, even vaguely resentful. ?Look what the Americans have done to English? is a not uncommon comment found in the letter-columns of the British press. But similar comments can be heard in the USA when people encounter the sometimes striking variations in English which are emerging all over the world. And if English is not your mother tongue, you may still have mixed feelings about it. You may be strongly motivated to learn it,because you know it will put you in touch with more people than any other language; but at the same time you know it will take a great deal of effort to master it, and you may begrudge that effort.Having made progress, you will feel pride in your achievement,and savour the communicative power you have at your disposal, but may none the less feel that mother-tongue speakers of English have an unfair advantage over you. And if you live in a country where the survival of your own language is threatened by the success of English, you may feel envious, resentful, or angry. You may strongly object to the naivety of the populist account, with its simplistic and often suggestively triumphalist tone. These feelings are natural, and would arise whichever language emerged as a global language. They are feelings which give rise to fears, whether real or imaginary, and fears lead to conflict. Language marches, language hunger-strikes, language rioting and language deaths are a fact, in several countries. Political differences over language economics, education, laws and rights are a daily encounter for millions. Language is always in the news, and the nearer a language moves to becoming a global language, the more newsworthy it is. So how does a language come to achieve global status?

What makes a global language?

Why a language becomes a global language has little to do with the number of people who speak it. It is much more to do with who those speakers are. Latin became an international language throughout the Roman Empire, but this was not because the Romans were more numerous than the peoples they subjugated. They were simply more powerful. And later, when Roman military power declined, Latin remained for a millennium as the international language of education, thanks to a different sort of power ?the ecclesiastical power of Roman Catholicism.

There is the closest of links between language dominance and economic, technological, and cultural power, too, and this relationship will become increasingly clear as the history of English is told (see chapters 2 ?4).Without a strong power-base, of whatever kind, no language can make progress as an international medium of communication. Language has no independent existence, living in some sort of mystical space apart from the people who speak it. Language exists only in the brains and mouths and ears and hands and eyes of its users. When they succeed, on the international stage, their language succeeds. When they fail, their language fails.

This point may seem obvious, but it needs to be made at the outset, because over the years many popular and misleading beliefs have grown up about why a language should become internationally successful. It is quite common to hear people claim that a language is a paragon, on account of its perceived aesthetic qualities, clarity of expression, literary power, or religious standing. Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic and French are among those which at various times have been lauded in such terms, and English is no exception. It is often suggested, for example, that there must be something inherently beautiful or logical about the structure of English, in order to explain why it is now so widely used. ?It has less grammar than other languages?, some have suggested.

Language circles:

Discuss the three language circles as illustrated by B.Kachru ,explain the reasons for the further widening of the expanding circle. ?English doesn?t have a lot of endings on its words, nor do we have to remember the difference Between masculine, feminine, and neuter gender, so it must be easier to learn?. In 1848, a reviewer in the British periodical The Athenaeum wrote: Models and descriptions of the spread of English

To better understand the use of English in different countries, Kachru conceived the idea of three concentric circles of the language.[1]

The ?inner circle? represents the traditional bases of English: the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Malta, anglophone Canada and South Africa, and some of Caribbean territories. The total number of English speakers in the inner circle is as high as 380 million, of whom some 120 million are outside the United States.

Next comes the ?outer circle,? which includes countries where English is not the native tongue, but is important for historical reasons and plays a part in the nation's institutions, either as an offical language or otherwise. This circle includes India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Tanzania, Kenya, non-Anglophone South Africa and Canada, etc. The total number of English speakers in the outer circle is estimated to range from 150 million to 300 million.

Finally, the ?expanding circle? encompasses those countries where English plays no historical or governmental role, but where it is nevertheless widely used as a foreign language or lingua franca. This includes much of the rest of the world's population: China, Russia, Japan, most of Europe, Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, etc. The total in this expanding circle is the most difficult to estimate, especially because English may be employed for specific, limited purposes, usually business English. The estimates of these users range from 100 million to one billion.

The inner circle (UK, USA,etc.) is 'norm-providing'. That means that English language norms are developed in these countries - English is the first language there. The outer circle (mainly New Commonwealth countries) is 'norm-developing'. The expanding circle (much of the rest of the world) is 'norm-dependent', because it relies on the standards set by native speakers in the inner circle

The most influential model of the spread of English has undoubtedly been that of Kachru (1992: 356) which is reproduced below. In accordance with the three-way categorisation described in the previous section, Kachru divides World Englishes into three concentric circles, the Inner Circle, the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle.The three circles ?represent the types of spread, the patterns of acquisition, and the functional allocation of English in diverse cultural contexts?, as the language travelled from Britain, in the first diaspora to the other ENL countries (the Inner Circle), in the second diaspora to the ESL countries (the Outer Circle) and, more recently, to the EFL countries (the Expanding Circle). The English spoken in the Inner Circle is The ?Expanding Circle?

an increasing number of speakers in the Expanding Circle use English for a very wide range of purposes including social, with native speakers and even more frequently with other non-native speakers from both their own and different L1s, and both in their home country and abroad. There is also an increasingly grey area between the Outer and Expanding Circles. Approximately twenty countries are in transition from EFL to ESL status, including: Argentina, Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Sudan, Switzerland (see Graddol 1997: 11 for the others).

World Englishes

World Englishes refers to the outer circle countries from Kachru's concentric circles (Kachru, 1985). Although Philipson first proposed the idea, Kachru is advancing his theories of world Englishes. In order to examine the question of whether there is one English or if there are world Englishes, I will summarize some of Kachru's arguments and the implications of them.

Kachru's three concentric circles, the inner, outer and expanding are the basis of his work. To summarize, the inner circle is composed of the traditional English speaking countries of Great Britain, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc. The outer circle is primarily composed of colonized countries such as Nigeria, Singapore and India. The expanding circle is comprised of countries where English is being learned as an international language. Kachru's theory is that by large-scale research into the use of English, local Englishes and varieties of Englishes will be justified (Kachru, 1985).

While monolithic English is still observable today in international newspapers it is easy to find examples of emerging Englishes. One example can be found on the internet. The recent phenomena of blogs are an example of Englishes.

A recent talk show on the BBC was examining a website where people from around the world were writing their blogs in English about their countries and how their lifestyles were being affected by change in their countries. All of the writers were using English.

On this program some of the bloggers were interviewed and their different Englishes were very obvious. While none of them were native English speakers, their varieties seemed to be embraced by the program. There were no subtitles as is sometimes seen on American news programs when a non-native speaker is talking.

This program was an example how emerging Englishes are used when different people from Kachru's expanding circle countries are encouraged to use their own Englishes simultaneously without worrying about using English that is considered correct by one of Kachru's "inner circle countries".

Kachru writes about the ownership of language and tries to establish a relationship between a language and its functions. In effect, he is trying to qualify the countries in the outer and expanding circles of his concentric circle by defining the range in the culture English is used and the depth or how far the English has penetrated into society.

Kachru also talks about the affects of the choice of the use of English and the implications it may have in a multilingual society. Traditional inner circle countries often view English as their own language and often feel hesitant to relinquish ownership to the outer and expanding circle countries.

Japan's limited range in using English, mostly limited to business, has an adverse effect on the degree of depth. However an emerging Japanese English is possible as changes in culture and education happen.

Yano writes about the implications in the future and suggests the inner circle line someday will disappear as ESL speakers will stop looking to the inner circle countries as a source of correct English (Yano, 2001).

Another area Kachru examines is the issue of defining a native speaker. Kachru describes looking at one of the inner circle's countries English, particularly British English as a standard of good use, "attitudinal schizophrenia" (Kachru, B. and C. Nelson, p. 82).

As is often the case in Japan, students often complain to the school that they want to learn English from a "native" speaker. The reality of who is native speaker and how those students will be using English in the future should be of concern especially with the future of business for Japan in South East Asia.

Kachru's framework for world Englishes also talks about the increasing contributions of bilingual speakers to English literature. These writers are using English to talk about their own cultures and using their own cultural contexts in their writings. This is further evidence of the emergence of world Englishes.

Another part of Kachru's world Englishes paradigm is the power structure that goes with becoming an English speaker and the choices a speaker makes reflects on this culture. For example a Japanese businessman when speaking in English associates himself with the English speaking culture.

While this may be to his benefit in an international setting, his compatriot who cannot speak English may appear to be less important in the same situation. The non-English speaking businessman, who may be of a higher rank in the Japanese business world, may be looked upon unfavorably because his English skills are lacking.

Acrolect, Basilect and Pidgin English

Explain the terms Acrolect, Basilect and Pidgin English

The variety of speech that is closest to a standard prestige language, especially in an area in which a creole is spoken. For example, Standard Jamaican English is the acrolect where Jamaican Creole is spoken.

The variety of speech that is most remote from the prestige variety, especially in an area where a creole is spoken. For example, in Jamaica, Jamaican Creole is the basilect whereas Standard Jamaican English is the acrolect or prestige language.

In the early 1970s Derek Bickerton proposed the words acrolect, mesolect, and basilect to refer to the phenomenon of code-switching used by some users of creole languages who also have some fluency in the standard language upon which the contact language is based. The words subsequently were generalized to refer to code-switching between registers within any language.

In some ways, an acrolect is a spoken version of a literary language; acrolects frequently differ from ordinary spoken language by their vocabulary and syntax. More heed is taken of the norms of prescriptive grammar in words spoken in an acrolect than in casual speech. Acrolects are used on ritual occasions and performances, and at important, formal political gatherings such as inaugurations and prepared speeches before courts or legislatures.

Acrolects are also found in religious ritual; when read aloud in English, the language of the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer are perhaps the most conspicuous peaks in the continuum from acrolect to basilect. Their use of archaisms such as the old second person pronoun thou mark their spoken usages as belonging to a separate order of ritual speech.

Other languages have even more pronounced differences between acrolects and basilects. In Japanese, the continuum has been absorbed into the language's grammar, and separate inflections mark and distinguish formal and informal Japanese. At the end of World War II, when the Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of the Japanese forces in a broadcast radio address, his speech was imperfectly understood by his subjects because he composed it in a highly formal and archaic version of Japanese that was used only at the imperial court.

Another more extreme example of acrolect differences can be found in Chinese. For over two thousand years, Chinese maintained Classical Chinese as an acrolect and standard written language while its colloquial spoken language varieties evolved further and further away to become their own basilects. The gulf became so wide between the formal and colloquial languages that it was blamed for hindering education and literacy, and some even went so far as to blame it in part for the political turmoil that occurred in China during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This eventually culminated into the adoption of Vernacular Chinese, which was based on modern spoken Mandarin, for all formal communication. Although based on modern spoken Chinese, Vernacular Chinese still retains certain formal constructions and thus continues to serve as an acrolect to the other dialects of Chinese. Vernacular Chinese (pinyin: bihu? ; Wade-Giles: paihua) is a style or register of the written Chinese language essentially modeled after the spoken language and associated with Standard Mandarin. ...

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