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This paper advocates the theory of 'Complex Dynamic Systems', developed in the sciences as a suitable framework for the understanding of the evolution of varieties and uses of English through time and space. After looking into earlier applications of this theory in linguistics, it surveys core properties of such systems and illustrates their relevance by applications to specific processes of change in the history of English. It then investigates processes of lexicosemantic diffusion and syntactic restructuring in World Englishes within this framework, trying to document its applicability.
This chapter documents the historical background and the current usage conditions of English in postcolonial countries where English holds a strong position as a widely used second language, notably in West and East Africa, in South and South-East Asia, and in the Pacific region. Case studies focus more closely on Nigerian English (including a sample text of news in Nigerian Pidgin English, with linguistic explanations), on English in Singapore (also with a recording, transcript and linguistic analysis of a sample, a conversation in "Singlish") and on Tok Pisin, an English-derived pidgin which is a national language in Papua New Guinea (also with a sample text, an election poster). To these world regions English was brought as the language of traders and missionaries, and later administrators and soldiers. Interestingly enough, the diffusion of English to these countries has gained special momentum only fairly recently, after the end of the colonial period, in the wake of globalization. The last section continues this exploration by describing the growing role of English in non-postcolonial countries in East Asia, with brief looks at Japan and South Korea and an extensive case study, including samples of Chinese English, of English in China.
The global spread of English has had widespread linguistic, social, and cultural implications, affecting the lives of millions of people around the world. This textbook provides a lively and accessible introduction to world Englishes, describing varieties used in regions as diverse as America, the Caribbean, Australia, Africa, and Asia, and setting them within their historical and social contexts. Students are guided through the material with chapter summaries, discussion questions and exercises, and a comprehensive glossary, helping them to understand different varieties of English. The second edition is substantially updated, including new sections on English as a Lingua Franca, blurring boundaries, and research methods and resources. The book is accompanied by a useful website, containing textual and audio examples of the varieties introduced in the text. Providing essential knowledge and skills for those embarking on the study of world Englishes, this is a timely update of the leading introduction to the subject.
This chapter describes the earliest and most deeply rooted processes of colonization which have shaped the English language, in what used to be known as the “Old World” and the “New World.” British English itself is shown to be a product of Germanic tribes colonizing the British Isles and of incorporating structural and lexical influences from a wide array of languages – Celtic first, Latin repeatedly in different contexts, Scandinavian in a very intense union, French in a markedly diglossic situation after the Norman Conquest, and many other languages thereafter. American English and its main varieties – regional, social, and ethnic ones – are shown to stem from settlement streams, migration and mixing, nationalistic tendencies, and ethnic integration and accommodation. The language situation of the English-speaking Caribbean, finally, has resulted from patchwork-like settlement patterns and political conflicts, the blend of European and African components in plantation settings, slavery and creolization, and post-Emancipation and post-Independence transformations towards regional pride and modernity. The sociohistorical survey of these three major world regions are supplemented by extensive case studies and discussions of regional language settings and language samples from these regions, often with recordings, namely from England's North, the American South, and Jamaica.
The concluding chapter broadly surveys the global diffusion of English which has resulted in new, localized versions of the language, a process often labeled "glocalization". It calls for respect for social and linguistic diversity.
This chapter addresses a number of basic facts about how languages work, and these are applied to the evolution of English in its global context. A few basic notions are introduced and defined – including dialect, accent, and variety. Widespread prejudices as to language “correctness” are compared to the notion of communicative adequacy in given contexts. All languages are found to vary, i.e. there is typically a choice between alternative realizations of linguistic entities on the language levels of pronunciation (phonetics and phonology), vocabulary (lexis), and grammar (syntax). Global varieties of English show variation on each of these levels, which can be explained by processes and principles of language change and language contact between speakers of different languages who communicate with each other and transfer forms from one language to another in bilingual or multilingual minds. Conceptualizations and categorization frameworks for the new varieties of English around the globe are introduced, including the ENL-ESL-EFL distinction and Kachru’s “Three Circles” model, as well as the “Dynamic Model” which suggests five subsequent developmental stages which newly emerging postcolonial varieties typically go through.
This chapter provides a brief, non-technical introduction to the strictly linguistic aspects of the evolution of World Englishes: the reasons for the fact that New Englishes have developed distinctive forms of their own, and the processes that have brought these new properties about. These speech forms and habits are shown to be products of language contact situations, with features of indigenous languages taken over into local forms of English, and an interplay of language-internal (such as effects of cognition, tendencies towards simplicity, regularity, or assigning a functional load to language forms) and extralinguistic factors (including demographic proportions, power relationships, prestige and social attitudes and identities). Secondly, it is shown that World Englishes share not only such evolutionary trajectories but also specific forms and features on the levels of vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar (such as reduced or modified vowel and sound systems, semantic shifting and typical word-formation processes, or characteristic grammatical innovations, often starting out at the interface between lexis and grammar). All linguistic forms brought into a contact situation constitute a "pool" of linguistic options, of which some then are successfully selected to become elements of a newly-emerging dialect of English.
The evolution of World Englishes has widely affected and transformed the lives of many people in many countries; it is thus a process of great cultural and political significance. This chapter surveys some social debates and issues which have arisen in this context and attitudes towards new varieties of English, outlining sociocultural contexts and considerations affecting the emergence and acquisition of World Englishes. Topics include the association of English with "elitism", accessible mainly through higher education and thus a class divider, as opposed to its "grassroots growth"; the claim that it is a "killer language" reducing global linguistic diversity; norm orientations (towards a supposed "international English", "English as a Lingua Franca", or endonormative models); the role of new dialects of expressing local identities; the problematic status of the notion of a "native speaker"; the spread of mixed language forms; and pedagogical consequences resulting from all these issues.
The chapter introduces "World Englishes" as a topic of scholarly research and argues that the global spread of English is a fascinating but also a complex process, with a number of possible, and sometimes conflicting, perspectives on and approaches to it. It is shown that nearly every speaker of English today has been exposed to different varieties of global English through media, travel, international contacts, and so on. It is argued that, based on their own linguistic backgrounds and more or less incidental cases of exposure to global varieties of English, proficient speakers of the language typically have intuitions on the sociosymbolic signaling functions of variant forms of English. Furthermore, it is shown that a wide range of sociostylistic information can be culled from any individual text. As a sample text, a Malaysian speech on a scientific subject is presented and discussed, pointing out some of its distinctive features on the levels of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Knowing more about such facts enriches our ability to assess, understand and contextualize Englishes from all around the world.