English as an International Language

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The development of English as a global language is one of the most remarkable phenomena of this century. It has developed from the native language of Inner-circle countries to the most widely read, spoken and taught language in the world. It has been widely spread through emigration, colonization, and globalization and has been acquired as a first, a second, and a foreign language (Karchu, 1990). Being the world’s leading language, English has become the main vehicle of international communication, and in that role, it is an essential and indispensable tool for international economy, diplomacy, the media and also individual interactions across language boundaries and having more second-language speakers than native speakers (Crystal, 2003). The global spread of English and the diversity of its speakers have given rise to linguistic diversity and variations in the aspect of phonology, morphology and syntax within native and non-native Englishes. It is used not only for international but also intranational communication. People tend to adjust English to the needs of their specific communities and hence, reflecting their unique social identity (Shi, 2008). With that, I strongly agree that English has not only undergone the process of re-nationalisation as ‘its use is no longer connected to the culture of inner circle countries’, its ownership also becomes de-nationalised as ‘it no longer belongs just to the inner-circle countries but to everyone who speaks it, irrespective of their linguistic and socio-cultural histories’ (McKay, 2002, Jenkins, 2003). Speakers from the Outer-circle and Expanding circle countries do not need to always make reference to native-speaker norms and furthermore, they have a right to contribute to the development of English. In this essay, I will examine and evaluate the arguments for and against internalising the cultural norms of Inner-circle countries and discuss how English has been re-nationalised and de-nationalised with references to...
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