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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

1 - Introduction

Summary

In this chapter …

This chapter introduces the topic of “World Englishes.” It points out the present-day global spread of English and the variant roles of the language in different societies. It should also make you, the reader, aware of the fact that most likely you have already gained some familiarity with this fact. Nearly every speaker of English today has been exposed to different varieties of global English. For instance, in the media accents from all over the world are frequently heard – say, by watching an American sitcom, or by listening to an interview with an African politician. Many people have come across different varieties of English whilst travelling, or have met visitors from another country. By reading this book you will learn a lot more about where, when, why, and how such “new” forms of English have emerged.

It is not enough to remain on a purely theoretical level, however. Our topic comes alive only if we seek exposure to real-life language as produced in different regions, and so I suggest we begin by starting with a practical exercise right away. Just as an example of what we can look at and talk about when we encounter a slightly unfamiliar form of English, you will find a text reproduced, and I will comment on some of the properties of this speech form which I find noteworthy and illustrative. You can, and ought to, also listen to this sample by downloading it from the website which accompanies this book. […]

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