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ENG506 World Englishes Assignment No 01 Fall 2019 Solution & Discussion

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The term English as a lingua franca (ELF) refers to the teaching, learning, and use of the English language as a common means of communication (or contact language) for speakers of different native languages.

Although most contemporary linguists regard English as a lingua franca (ELF) as a valuable means of international communication and a worthwhile object of study, some have challenged the idea that ELF is a distinct variety of English. Prescriptivists (generally non-linguists) tend to dismiss ELF as a kind of foreigner talk or what has been disparagingly called BSE--"bad simple English."

British linguist Jennifer Jenkins points out that ELF is not a new phenomenon.

English, she says, "has served as a lingua franca in the past, and continues to do so nowadays, in many of the countries that were colonized by the British from the late sixteenth century on (often known collectively as the Outer Circle following, such as India and Singapore.

English operates as a lingua franca at a number of different levels, including local, national, regional and international. Apparently paradoxically, the more localised the use of English as a lingua franca, the more variation it is likely to display. This can be explained by reference . . . to the 'identity--communication continuum.' When used in a local setting, ELF will display identity markers. Thus code-switching and the explicit [use] of nativised norms can be expected. When used for international communication, on the other hand, speakers will consciously avoid the use of local and nativised norms and expressions."

(b)  Possible problems facing English as a Lingua Franca

English is the global language. It is spoken by more people, and by more diverse groups of people, than any other language on earth. Whether seen as a globalizing force for good, or a threat to other languages and cultures (for example Phillipson’s idea of English as a “lingua frankensteinia”), the strong, global, presence of the language cannot be denied. A scholarly initiative dealing with language learning and education in response to the global position of English is “English as a Lingua Franca” (or ELF). The ELF approach by Jennifer Jenkins has

garnered considerable scholarly attention and represents a distinctive voice in the debate surrounding worldwide English Language Teaching (ELT). The ELF proposal is not uncontroversial, though, and there are many questions concerning its practical implementation and pragmatic value. Three important questions regarding ELF are:

whether it can be seen as a bona fide variety of English within a World Englishes

Paradigm; whether learners of English would be interested in acquiring ELF; and,

 what the consequences of adopting ELF would be for learners. These are rather broad and general questions, but what connects them is the overarching concern with the practicality of the ELF proposal. It appears that these questions pose significant challenges to the notion of ELF in education.

Question no 2:

The Three-circle Model of World Englishes was developed by Kachru  and it remains one of the most influential models for grouping the varieties of English in the world. Kachru  described the spread of English in terms of three concentric circles: the Inner Circle, the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle. These circles represent “the type of spread, the patterns of acquisition and the functional domains in which English is used across cultures and languages” . Although Kachru’s three-circle of English is still an important initial stepping stone for the division of Englishes, drawbacks and variations have been identified by several authors, including Kachru himself. The Kachru’s Three-circle Model will be introduced and evaluated in this paper.


In the Kachru’s Three-circle Model, the Inner Circle Kachru’s model refers to the traditional bases of English, dominated by the mother-tongue varieties, where English acts as a first language. The countries involved in the Inner Circle include the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The varieties of English used here are said to be ‘norm providing’. The Outer Circle consists of the earlier phases of the spread of English in non-native settings, where the language has become part of a country’s chief institutions, and plays an important ‘second language’ role in a multilingual setting. Most of the countries included in the Outer Circle are former colonies of the UK or the USA, such as Malaysia, Singapore, India, Ghana, Kenya and others ,. The English used in the outer circle is considered as ‘norm-developing’. The Expanding Circle refers to the territories where English is learnt as a foreign language. The territories do not have a history of colonization by members of the Inner Circle and institutional or social role. English is taught asa ‘foreign’ language as the most useful vehicle of international communication . The countries in the Expanding Circle include China, Japan, Greece and Poland . The English used in the Expanding Circle is regarded as ‘norm dependent’.


The Kachru’s model is in a dynamic nature. According to Kachru , dividing English speakers into Inner, Outer and Expanding circles is preferable to the traditional native, ESL and EFL labels which involve the dichotomy between native and nonnative speakers . English native speakers are visually not privileged since they are not placed at the top of the Three-circle Model. However, the model is not sufficiently dynamic to reflect the reality of English use in the world. It still prefers the English native speakers in the inner circle. The limitations of the model will be discussed in the following.


The Three-circle Model fails to consider the growth of English in the world. It cannot


account for the growing use of English, namely English as a lingua franca between speakers who do not share a first language . English is now overwhelmingly widespread in international settings. It is the language choice in international organizations, companies as well as academic world . It is also commonly used in the domains of the internet, international mass media and entertainment .states that “the speed with which a global language scenario has arisen is truly remarkable”. The so called “Expanding Circle” of foreign language speakers included more than 750 million EFL speakers in 1997, compared to 375 million first language speakers and 375 million second language speakers. It is important to point out that the number of English users is developing at a faster rate as a language of international communication than as a language of intranational communication . International communication has become a common phenomenon between the circles and the increased mobility of people has made personal relationships across language borders . concentric circles seem to acknowledge diversity but little commonality across Englishes, describing the English varieties as separate. Due to the increasing international communication, the distinction between the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle becomes fuzzy and cannot account for the growing use of English in today’s world.



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