English as an international language and an intercultural communication

The term ‘’Englishes» is always used to refer to the emerging localised varieties of the English language. Especially the word becomes familiar when talking about the varieties of the language that have emerged in the territories that are influenced by the United States or by the United Kingdom (Galloway 2015). Varieties of English that are identical have been used in diverse sociolinguistic for purposes of communication. Multicultural backgrounds, sociolinguistic histories and the context of function have been of significant influence on the use of English in the different parts of the world.

English has attained the status of a global communication language. The reason has been attributed to the different users as they come from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds and they tend to come along with their cultural norms like the norm of politeness into the established interaction (Jenkins 2006). The Knowledge on how English is used in the different cultures from the different countries is vital in the global communication settings.

In explaining the rise of ‘Englishes’ as a global language, one of the most influential models that describe the same is the one by Braj Kachru’s model of world Englishes (Jenkins 2014). Based on the said model English diffusion is explained regarding three concentric circles of the language. The circles include the inner, outer and the expanding circle. The inner circle represents the traditional cultural and linguistic bases of English. Countries like USA and UK found in the inner circle have English as their mother tongue. It also speaks of English as it initially took shape. Secondly, the outer circle stands for the institutionalised non-native varieties in parts of the world that were under extended periods of colonisation. In the stated circle English is not the native tongue but helps as a lingua franca between language and ethnic groups. In the circle, the legislature, higher education, judiciary and national commerce are done using the English language, for example, Philippines and Bangladesh (Dumanig et al. 2017). The expanding circle represents countries where English is used as a medium of international communication although the English language plays no governmental or historical role. The countries like China and Korea in the expanding circle are norm depending due to them relying on the standards set by the indigenous speakers in the inner circle. Hence explaining the varieties witnessed in their English language.

Based on the model, the spread of English lead is responsible for the development of many Englishes. The English language developed and gained multi cultural identities (Pennycook 2014). Observation from the outer circle brings up the term colony. Therefore it means that the type of colony a particular nation was under had a significant influence on the way English developed at the particular place even though the developmental processes for each variety were similar. Colonies were different for example there were those who were called trade colonies, settlement colonies and the exploitation colonies. The contact in trade commenced with the local people and the European traders. The varieties in language that the European traders spoke would be nonstandard varieties hence their contact with the local people about varieties in the English language. When the trade colonies became exploitative, the local was subjected to the political and administrative control of their colonies. Due to the increased contact, English became the medium of instruction. Therefore the consequence was that there was the development of a variety of English as a result of the contact between the local and the Europeans. In exploitation colonies like Malaysia and India, the influence of local cultures and languages was significant in the rising of the local English varieties. On the other hand in settlement colonies like New Zealand and Australia, there was an influence in the development of the local variety of English though the influence was lesser as compared to the others and the reason was that of the difference in the degree of influence.

In the expanding circles, the roles of English are remarkable. Countries like China in this category use English in education. Several universities offer courses through the medium of English. For that reason, many students have begun studying in English. Also, the rising use of computer technology has increased the using of English language in the computer mediated communication. People in those countries are even choosing to use English in their emails communication. Therefore based on the role of English in the expanding circle the development of a local Chinese variety of English can be justified (Seidlhofer 2013). The genuine desire to learn English due to it becoming adaptable to suit the cultural norms of the speakers is the cause of the developed Englishes.

In conclusion, it is of the essence to note that there is an advancing shift looming on English as the dominant language. The development of Englishes» which are large varieties that are mutually unintelligible will at a time converge so that the actual differences across the board of speakers are eventually eliminated. English spreads and can adapt based on the cultural preferences and the linguistic of its speakers in the outer and expanding circles. Another possible shift in the linguistic centre is that the language could as well lose its internal role together or be forced to share it with also some equals. The main reason for the same may not be majorly attributed to the native speaker’s resistance to the spread of ‘englishes’ that are not indigenous but the latter would play a part on the same. The consequent will be the abandoning of English by large numbers of non-native speakers. Examining the linguistic features of a range of Englishes and the context of their sociocultural operation will expose the existing variations when compared with the native English


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Galloway, N. & Rose, H. (2015). Introducing Global Englishes. UK. Routledge

Jenkins, J (2006). World Englishes. A resource book for students. London: Routledge. pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-415-25806-5.

Jenkins, J. (2014). Global Englishes: A resource book for students. Routledge.

Dumanig, F. P., David, M. K., & Symaco, L. P. (2017). Competing roles of the national language and English in Malaysia and the Philippines: Planning, policy and use. Journal of International and Comparative Education (JICE), 104-115.

Pennycook, A. (2017). The cultural politics of English as an international language. Taylor & Francis.

Seidlhofer, B. (2013). Understanding English as a Lingua Franca-Oxford Applied Linguistics. Oxford University Press.