The Development of the Theory of World Englishes
In our modern world there are more non-native speakers of English than native speakers. This is because there is a growing necessity of people to acquire English as a second language for different purposes. As a result of this growing spread of English, new English varieties have risen all over the world. These are commonly called ‘World Englishes’ which suggests the several variations of English spoken in different countries (Seargeant, 2012)
As new ‘Englishes’ develop new theories about their formation, similarities and differences arise around the world. English is no longer seen as a unique structure but as a multicultural and plural ...view middle of the document...
Hence, the development of the theory of World Englishes emerges from a variety of linguistic and non-linguistic approaches. According to Bolton (cited in Seargeant, 2012), the discipline of World Englishes has been developed from three groups of approaches: approaches related to linguistics issues, approaches concerned with linguistics and socio-political areas and approaches involved in non-linguistic areas. Seargeant (2012) reinforces this classification by adding to the list a fourth new category related to the investigation of English in a global and cultural context.
Approaches in the first of these categories, which are related to linguistic issues, date from the late nineteenth century. The main focus of these is to analyse syntactical structure and historical changes of different varieties of British English using a linguistic approach. The second group of approaches described by Bolton (cited in Seargeant, 2012) aims also at the study of English variations; however, linguistic differences of English varieties are not taken into account. Instead, these approaches concentrate on social, cultural and political environments in which language is occupied. The third group of approaches is related to those disciplines that main concerns are historical, cultural and political issues of English in a global context. The last and forth category identified by Seargeant (2012) analyses the way in which English is used around the world and how new Englishes varieties can be affected by the globalised and changing world. An example of this is the way in which English is considered and valued by people in different countries and how English may help speakers of World Englishes to improve their social status.
As a result of the combination of these four categories of approaches, the development of the theory of World Englishes has established its own object of study. Although it seems impossible to set up clear boundaries, because English language is being transformed through time, the development of the discipline of World Englishes tends to focus mainly on the complexity of English language in the world. Indeed, it aims at examining the crucial issues related to the nature of English today, such as identifying generalities among the new Englishes varieties, explaining its significant phonological, grammatical and lexical features and focusing on the multiple valuable purposes of the English language inside the different English communities.
In addition, two influential and contrastive language ideologies can be found inside the development of the discipline of World Englishes. Seargeant (2012) points out that these ideologies may constitute a huge part of its object of study. On the one hand, the notion of ‘English as an international language’, that refers to the several purposes of English communication in professional worldwide contexts where intelligibility or coherence are essential parts for successful communication. On the other hand, the...