Wednesday, January 12, 2011

World Englishes

One of the courses I'm taking this semester is World Englishes. This is the first time I'm taking a course related to this topic and it's nice to learn new things. They say this is exactly what keeps you young ^_^
So, I have two readings for this week, one by Kachru and one by Bolton.
It's quite a peculiar feeling to dive into a new body of knowledge. I wish I could save the memory of what initially strikes me each time I learn something new. At least I can keep record of it this time. For the time being, I can say that the concentric circles model and terminology are the first things that grabbed my attention, I guess the figure for its simplicity and terminology for their novelty. Now I know a little about concentric circle model. It's interesting that I feel like I knew about this heuristic before even reading anything about them. It must be because I have listened to my friends who are interested in world Englishes or maybe I have read something but I do not remember it now. I sometimes wonder how life would be if I could remember everything. Anyway, the inner, outer, and expanding circles, functional nativeness, genetic nativeness, speech communities, nativization,  norm-providing, norm-dependent, international English, global English, world English, lingua franca English, contact varieties, interference varieties, lectal mixing, standardization, codification, linguistic creativity, range, depth,  etc. are some of the terminology I encountered in just two articles. Of course it is one thing to read a definition of a concept and it's quite another to know what it really means. What does it take to learn a concept?
Anyway, let me end this post by a quote from Bolton's article Varieties of World Englishes--from the section entitled The Empire Calls Back (As you may have guessed I like the humor here).
Only 50 years ago, a sociologist like Pieris (1951), based at least for a time in South Asia, was moved to discuss the English-knowing bilingual as a "racial or cultural hybrid, situated on the fringe of two culture as a Marginal Man" (Pieris, 1951:329). Today by contrast, multilingualism and what Ch'ien dubs "polyculturalism" seems to speak to the center rather than the margins of contemporary intellectual experience, wherever one is located. (p. 307)

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