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A critical Evaluation of Braj Kachru’s Three Circle Model for Varieties of English Around The World

Shivana Mohammed


Ling 6402: World Englishes

Jo-Anne Ferierra

In 1985, Braj Kachru first posited the term “World Englishes” this was hailed as a valuable contribution to the understanding of the many varieties of English which have arisen since the colonisation of many cultures by the British Raj. Pennycock declares “Braj Kachrus development of the term World englishes, epitomises the heterogeny position” (qtd Mair 2003) Salikoko Mufwene then applauded Kachru for his terminology, which he then believed served as an ideal vessel for English as a World Language; emerging as an international lingua franca. However Braj Kachru warned then that the notion of “World Englishes” was independent of whether or not English functioned as a world language.

Rather, “the concept was intended to capture the plurism and the regional and cross cultural variation that obtains among English varieties throughout the world, and the distinct identities of these varieties”. (Kachrus, 1985) By capturing this plurism so succinctly, there is the forced recognition of other standard varieties of English far from the normative British and American Varieties. None sharing the same socio-politico-linguistic status as the “Native Englishes” from which all others take pattern. Therefore the question that had arisen was one of, how were the progeny of the English Raj to be classified?

The Gorilla protagonist and namesake of David Quinns’ novel Ishmael wisely instructs his student that a precursory statement must be made of human behaviour with respect to classification of their environment, before an explanation of these classifications be made. That is,

“I’m going to call the people of your country Takers and all the people of other countries Leavers.” [The Student] Hmmm’d a bit before saying, “I have a problem with that.” “Speak” [says Ishmael]....
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