Guide Global Englishes in Asian Contexts: Current and Future Debates

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Global Englishes in Asian Contexts

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Many of these terms are, on the face of it, different, but in reality they are used to describe the same phenomenon of the spread of English from slightly different perspectives, and with different foci and emphases. We shall now turn to yet another perspective included in the volume, that is, the varying views from different cultural and language traditions of the different contributors.

This is significant since most of the discussions at the international level in the field so far are mainly lead by scholars from the Inner and the Outer Circles as well as the European Expanding Circle. By contrast, the volume also includes contributors from the Asian Expanding Circle, such as Japanese and Korean contributors.

Furthermore, the contributors present differing views on the role and future of English, and naturally their views do not necessarily coincide with those of each other or the editors. In fact, they quite often have diversifying views; some regard language and culture as more fluid entities, while others regard them as more culture specific. We believe, however, that it is essential to include these differing views and voices in this volume.

They are, in fact, all closely related to the extent that all of them are deeply concerned with the influence of the 6 Introduction spread and diffusion of English at global as well as local levels. We shall now introduce each of these contributions in more detail. The structure of the volume The volume is divided into four main parts. It also examines their communicative potentials and intelligibility in international, intranational and intercultural situations, illustrating, for example, how ELF users produce their own communities of practice and identity in its creative use, accommodating to each other.

The three chapters in Part II Chapters 5—7 focus on the issues of identity, ideology and attitudes in the use of varying Asian Englishes in their local contexts, referring also to language policies. Kachru, Gill and Bhatia research on both spoken and written discourses in advertising, school and workplace settings. Finally, Part IV Chapters 11—13 concludes with discussions on the future of Englishes with a possible paradigm shift in mind. In the following, we shall elaborate on each part in a more detailed manner.

Smith deals with cross-cultural understanding from the perspective of the three dimensions of intelligibility, comprehensibility and interpretability, starting with an explication of the terms. Smith concludes the chapter with some practical suggestions for better understanding in WE communication.

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Using the data from the VOICE Project, they illustrate how the interactants from varying language and cultural backgrounds exploit Introduction 7 and modify the principle, co-constructing ELF-specific expressions for communicative purposes, creating and enjoying new ELF idiomaticity. This is a promising and foreseeable future scenario where people whose native tongue is not English use and own English Widdowson as a lingua franca of their own free will and in their style, introducing their creativity and originality into the communities of practice Wenger She goes on to describe some of the features that have been identified in ELF corpora as potential features of ELF use, pointing out how these features bear both similarities to and differences from developments in native English.

Jenkins focuses in the final part of her article on responses to ELF, and on the implications of ELF for English speakers in the Asian Expanding Circle, stating that ELF may offer them more relevant and meaningful linguistic opportunities. Intentionally using the term EIAL English as one of the international auxiliary languages see Smith as well to avoid the power associated with other terms Morizumi, this volume , he also argues that a polymodel stance should be taken in discussing the use of English, particularly in consideration with its connection with culture and language.

He concludes the chapter by suggesting that the current global trends in the varying use of the varieties of English should be taught at school level and that this could be dealt with, for example, by introducing the issue into the hugely influential MEXT- the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology approved school textbooks at secondary level in Japan. Although the suggestion may sound very much locally oriented, it has implications for similar situations in differing cultural and language contexts.

She asserts that it is only a matter of time before Korea English becomes a recognized variety of English — what she terms a glocalized variety. Herein, she characterizes KE, focusing particularly on the influences from Korean cultural values, which heavily reflect Confucianism. Park concludes her chapter by emphasizing the importance of teaching this variety of English with its cultural specificities to Korean English learners as well as overseas business people who are likely to interact with Korean counterparts.

There are then some similarities between the characteristics of Japanese English presented by Morizumi Chapter 6 and those of Korea English listed by Park Chapter 7 , particularly in their cultural traits, perhaps partly because Japanese culture and communication styles are also indirectly influenced by Confucianism. The younger generations, however, are rapidly changing their cultural assumptions and values, and thus, this tendency is worth further investigating in the future. Chapter 8, by Y. Kachru, focuses mainly on the use of English in academic contexts in India.

It explores scientific writing across disciplines as well as across languages and cultures.

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In particular, Y. Kachru emphasizes the importance of recognizing the cultural conventions and values reflected in the seemingly generic structures of scientific Introduction 9 writing, and urges us to investigate more into the field, not assuming that they are universal. Kachru also states that teaching its generic features as well as investigating the possibility of culture specificity is essential.

The message here is that in considering localized varieties of English in various genres we should simultaneously seek for the reconciliation between genre and culture specificities in order to keep global intelligibility and local identity. The next two chapters by Gill Chapter 9 and Bhatia Chapter 10 focus mainly on business and commercial discourses in Asian contexts.

Gill Chapter 9 , starting with the historical background to the use of English in Malaysia together with its language policy, moves on to the discussion of the sub-varieties of formal Malaysian English on the basis of the results from her own survey on their perception and acceptability by gatekeepers in Malaysian business industries. They are reported to employ the exonormative NS English standards when the assumed interactants are NSs, while in ELF communication less prescriptive norms are employed.

Gill persuasively demonstrates it in her study.

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Bhatia in Chapter 10 specifically explores advertising in Asian contexts and describes how advertisers or business industries utilize the power of English in its local context, using code-mixing and in its process also creatively using their own localized variety of English to make advertisement more powerful and persuasive. Thus, Bhatia deals with the issue of globalization and localization simultaneously in this specific field and demonstrates the positive effects of widespread code-mixing in Asian advertising. At the same time, he also illustrates how blurring of the boundaries among the three different Kachruvian concentric circles, particularly between the Outer and the Expanding Circles, is occurring.

This is partly demonstrated by examples of advertising from both the Outer and the Expanding Circles. Here, the 10 Introduction varieties of English users are described actively and positively as the owners of their own variety, not being constrained by the exonormative Inner Circle English standards.

Bhatia vividly illustrates what is currently happening in the use of English in Asian contexts and predicts what will perhaps happen in various parts of the world in the future. This leads us to Part IV, which discusses the future of English.


Part IV comprises three chapters by B. Kachru in Chapter 11, with the comprehensive explication of and elaboration on the field, promotes multilingual perspectives in dealing with world Englishes. The chapter covers wide-ranging issues related to the field such as the ideology of English, multilingualism, creativity, pluralism, globalization and multi-canons, all in relation to the use of Englishes, in particular Asian Englishes. As one of the prominent founders of the field of WE, B. Furthermore, it is also written from the perspective of teaching world Englishes in their cross-cultural contexts, and thus, his discussion is balanced also with implications for language teaching and cross-cultural communication.

The chapter persuasively claims the necessity of a paradigm shift in order to accommodate to the current situation. The differences in the models he refers to, however, seem to be largely terminological, as we discussed earlier, seen from slightly different perspectives and with different emphasis. We shall now turn to Yano Chapter 13 , whose framework has been much discussed in Pennycook. Starting with discussion on how change in the use of English is inevitable with time and its expansion in various Introduction 11 parts of the world, Yano presents some illustrative examples of its use from various parts of Asia.

Along with the region-based model of English, Yano introduces standards on the basis of the genre-specific proficiency model, where the achievement of ESP English for specific purposes proficiency is placed above the EGP English for general purposes one. This dual framework is useful, including two different dimensions of regional differences and genre-specific proficiency in its discussion.

Although it could be too complex, particularly with the inclusion of the three Kachruvian concentric models also in the framework, an attempt to combine the three influential models in one framework is ambitious. It will be interesting to see whether these regional standard Englishes develop and people in these wider regions communicate with each other with their own varieties of English, owning and using English in their own styles, which simultaneously makes it possible to communicate with people inter-regionally. This, then, could also be one of the promising future scenarios.

To conclude, the volume takes multi-perspectives, just as there are varieties of English WE and varying ways of approaching communicative situations where English is used as an international lingua franca ELF. The future scenario by the contributors to this volume may not necessarily converge into one framework, paradigm or terminology, but it is closely connected with one consistent and recurrent message, that is, all contributors, although they may be using slightly different terminologies and frameworks, believe in multilingualism, multiculturalism, the creativity of the varieties of English users and their accompanying identities, while paying attention also to intelligibility of ELF or EIL communication.

Note 1. References Adamson, B. Bolton, K. Hong Kong English: Autonomy and Creativity. Brutt-Griffler, J. World English: A study of its development. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Crystal, D. English as a Global Language.

Current and future debates

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Teaching and Learning English as a Global Language. Tubingen: Stauffenburg-Verl. Graddol, D. English Next. London: British Council.