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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: September 2012

7 - Conclusion: current trends in the spread of English



This chapter rounds off the study of WEs by examining them in the context of linguistic aspects of globalisation and some practical issues surrounding it. The main areas covered are WEs in education, special purpose international communication like air traffic control, the growing call-centre industry in the Outer Circle and the further spread of English in Europe.


In previous chapters we focused on the characteristics of New Englishes that set them apart from metropolitan varieties. These structural and discourse characteristics lead us to characterise individual New Englishes as varieties in their own right. That is, they are treated as relatively autonomous varieties, or dialects with a special status, namely being L2 varieties, not frequently used in the home. Crucially a New English like that of Sri Lanka is not invented anew with each generation of learners. Earlier generations are responsible for effectively laying down tracks that subsequent generations were to follow and modify. Thus Sri Lankan English is not simply ‘English in Sri Lanka’, but a variety with a certain regional and social identity, one of its characteristics being, as Kachru (1982) and others have stressed, acculturation to the languages, environment and sociopolitical activities in the society. A relevant question that has arisen is whether the New English should be overtly recognised within the educational system, if it is the tacit norm that people follow.