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The concluding chapter will first draw together the empirical findings and return to the five uses of English in Asia identified by Kachru and which were discussed in the Introduction. English is developing new domains of use and an increasing number of Asians are becoming highly proficient speakers of English and are shaping English to their own uses and cultures, allowing them to develop a sense of ownership of the language. English is now an Asian language, both in and of Asia. This conclusion comes with no sense of triumphalism. On the contrary, the chapter will conclude with the prediction that, unless regional governments develop holistic and coherent language education polices, it is likely that English will continue to increase its range at the expense of local and regional languages. It will be reiterated that delaying the introduction of English will result in a win-win solution through which students can graduate from secondary school, proficient in English and fluent and literate in their respective national language and their home language. As a language of Asia, English does not need to replace Asian languages.
Chapter 2 introduces the ACE, a corpus of naturally occurring English as spoken as a lingua franca by Asian multilinguals, in a wide range of speech events: interviews; press conferences; service encounters; seminar discussions; working group discussions; workshop discussions; meetings; panels; question-and-answer sessions; and conversations, categorized under five major settings: education (25%), leisure (10%), professional business (20%), professional organisation (35%), and professional research/science (10%). ACE was collected to act as a complementary corpus to the VOICE, a corpus of naturally occurring English used as a lingua franca in primarily European settings. ACE data have been tagged following the transcription conventions originally developed by the VOICE project team. Users can browse the corpus data according to the five settings or according to the various data collection sites. A Web concordancer has been developed which allows users to search any word/phrase in ACE, and collocation information of the search word/phrase will be illustrated. Researchers and teachers/learners can explore the ACE data for various research and pedagogical purposes.
Chapter 8 consider a selection of functions that English is playing in Asian countries. First, consider the role that English is playing in the legal systems of many postcolonial countries, even though these countries have been independent for several decades. The recent widespread protests in Hong Kong against a proposed law that would allow the extradition of people from Hong Kong to face the court system of Mainland China is a prime example of how people may still regard the colonial legacy of English law to be more transparent and just than local systems of law. This chapter also looks at how English has been adopted for use in religion; for example, how certain schools attached to mosques in Indonesia now teach courses in ‘English for Islamic Values’, providing further evidence of how its new users are adopting English for their own cultural practices and purposes. The chapter concludes with examples of how English is being used in popular culture across Asia.
Using empirical data from ACE and from a selection of Asian varieties of English, how local and regional cultural and pragmatic norms are realised in the English being used by Asian multilinguals will be illustrated. We also investigate whether there is empirical evidence for the idea that there is an ‘Asian’ way of communication which is marked or characterised by dialogue and consensus. In an earlier study (Kirkpatrick 2010), fifteen speaker and listener strategies were identified which were adopted by Asian multilinguals while using English as a lingua franca. These findings supported other findings using more European-based data, illustrating that English as a lingua franca is characterised by its speakers’ adoption of specific communicative strategies to ensure successful communication and the preservation of their fellow interlocutors’ face. It will be argued, however, that context is the crucial variable, as there are occasions when speakers, far from seeking to preserve the face of their fellow interlocutors, were happy to threaten their interlocutors’ face.
Chapter 1 will first provide an introduction to how English was introduced and then developed in India. The role of the East India Company and the influence of Macaulay’s famous 1835 Minute of Indian Education will be described. The current three-language policy will be reviewed and India’s continued thirst for English explained. The chapter then compares the development of English in India with its development in China and key stages of its adoption in China are reviewed. It will be pointed out that China now has more users of English than India. Chapter 1 will also provide a brief comparative account of how English developed in the ten nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and how it came to be ratified in the 2009 ASEAN Charter as the sole working language of the group.
Chapter 7 will investigate the use, environment and frequency of non-standard morphosyntactic forms in English (i) when used as a specific variety of Asian English and (ii) when used as a lingua franca by Asian multilinguals. Major questions to be considered when dealing with distinctive morphosyntactic features include an investigation into the role of the speakers’ first languages in the creation of distinctive/non-standard forms or whether there is evidence for the existence of vernacular universals. The importance of corpora for investigating the comparative frequency of distinctive morphosyntactic features and the crucial significance of context and levels of formality will be stressed.
Chapter 3 discusses and contrasts Asian varieties of English with the use of English as a lingua franca in Asia. Examples from selected varieties of Asian Englishes are presented. These examples will show how Asian varieties of English are typically code-mixed varieties as speakers use their shared linguistic resources as markers of identity. It must be underlined that the great majority of users of Asian varieties of English have learned English as an additional language and are speakers of other languages. Their variety of English will include linguistic features and items from their speakers’ other languages. These Asian varieties of English are then compared and contrasted with the use of English as a lingua franca in Asia, illustrating, for example, how code-mixing from other languages is reduced, as the primary function of the use of a lingua franca is communication across cultural and linguistic boundaries.
Chapter 6, using data primarily from Asian varieties of English, will describe, illustrate and analyse the use of words and idioms from the speakers’ first languages when they use English. It thus considers further evidence for English used in these contexts being an Asia-centric or Asian language. Questions to be considered when dealing with distinctive lexical features include the role of words/idioms from the speakers’ first language and/or code mixing and a comparison of their use when speakers are using their Asian variety of English and when English is being used as a lingua franca. If code-mixing is used, what might the reasons for this use be? If code-mixing is not used, what might the reasons for the lack of use be? Chapter 6 also provides examples from Asian literatures written in English to show how Asian writers have ‘stretched’ and ‘adapted’ English to reflect their cultural values and lived experiences.
Chapter 4 provides empirical evidence for the claim that English is an Asian and Asia-centric language. Using data from ACE, topics that Asian multilinguals typically talk about when using English as a lingua franca are described. A preliminary study into this, using a small subset of the ACE corpus, found that common topics were, perhaps not surprisingly, Asia-centric. The topics discussed ranged from the relatively light hearted – such as comparing in a jokey fashion the various qualities of different brands of Thai and Malaysian rice and the importance of coffee to the Vietnamese – to more serious topics such as the treatment of Burmese refugees, ways of raising Islamic finance and the prejudice shown towards ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. This chapter will also introduce the fundamental concepts of register and levels of formality by illustrating how different levels of formality call for different speech styles and types of interaction. The chapter will include a critical discussion on the implications of the topics commonly discussed by Asian multilinguals for English language teaching, in particular their implications for relevant teaching materials and curricula.
The Introduction describes how the main author became interested in the use of English in Asia as a child and describes a number of contemporary vignettes which illustrate how English is being used by Asian multilinguals. Kachru’s proposal that English is a language of Asia rather than simply in Asia is reviewed. The Introduction then provides brief summaries of each of the book’s chapters.
Chapter 9 will consider the role of English as a language of education across the region, including brief reviews of its role in primary, secondary and higher education in selected settings. It will review and critically consider language education policies that have been adopted in a range of Asian countries. The second half of the chapter will turn to a review and critical discussion of the increasing use of English as the medium of instruction in higher education across universities in the region. The chapter will conclude by arguing that language education policies need to be considered holistically and be coherent from primary to tertiary education. Otherwise there is a danger of English replacing local languages as languages of education and scholarship.
Chapter 10 will present a proposal based on the findings and data discussed earlier for a lingua franca approach to English language teaching for the region. This will extend the proposal made by Kirkpatrick (2014, 2018), in which principles of the lingua franca approach to English language are presented and discussed. The lingua franca approach is proposed as a way of both ensuring that English is successfully learned by Asian multilinguals while, at the same time, ensuring the preservation of local languages as languages of education.
Asia is now home to some 800 million multilingual speakers of English, more than the total number of native English speakers, and how they use English is continuously evolving and changing to reflect their cultural backgrounds and everyday experiences. Can English, therefore, be considered an Asian language? Drawing upon the Asian Corpus of English, this book will be the first comprehensive account of the roles, uses and features of English in Asia, encompassing several different varieties of Asian English. Chapters cover the distinctive linguistic features of English in different settings, such as in law, religion and popular culture, as well as the use of local rhetorical, pragmatic and cultural styles and its use as a lingua franca among Asian multilinguals. It will also examine the role of English in education - from primary through to higher education - and consider the implications of this for other languages of Asia.
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