status of english in the world tripartition n.
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STATUS OF ENGLISH IN THE WORLD: TRIPARTITION. The 3 circles of English. The US linguist Braj Kachru has suggested that we think of the spread of English around the world as 3 concentric circles. In the inner circle we find people and countries that have English as a native language.

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the 3 circles of english
The 3 circles of English
  • The US linguist Braj Kachru has suggested that we think of the spread of English around the world as 3 concentric circles.
  • In the inner circle we find people and countries that have English as a native language.
  • In the outer or extended circle we have countries with different native languages that have adopted English as an official language.
  • The expanding circle included countries where English is spoken as a foreign language.
three concentric circles of english kachru 1988
Three concentric circles of English(Kachru 1988)

Despite its name, this model is not circular or concentric, but a set of three contiguous ovals .

The smaller unlabelled ovals belong presumably to the past

enl e nglish as n ative l anguage
ENLEnglish as Native Language
  • language of people born &raised in countries, where English is (historically) the first language
  • countries like: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand

-> as „traditional, cultural & linguistic bases“

  • around 350 million ENL speakers around the world
  • Not one single variety, differences in territories (e.g. UK and US
  • Standard English and American English in comparison
  • SOUTH AFRICAN ENGLISH (one of the 11 official languages in South Africa)
  • English is the primarylanguage in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia (Australian English), the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize (BelizeanKriol), the BritishIndianOceanTerritory, the British Virgin Islands, Canada (Canadian English), the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey (Channel Island English), Guyana, Ireland (Hiberno-English), Isleof Man (Manx English), Jamaica (Jamaican English), Jersey, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand (New Zealand English), Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the UnitedStates.
esl e nglish as s econd l anguage
ESLEnglish as Second Language
  • people living in territories like India, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Singapore
  • Countries former colonised by British

->English gained importance in administration

  • English serves official purpose within the country in law, education and government
  • also worldwide around 350 million speakers


Indian English (Indlish) Singaporean English (Singlish) Malaysian English


  • English is an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom but falls short of official status, such as in Malaysia, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Bahrain.
  • In manyothercountries, where English isnot the mostspokenlanguage, itisanofficiallanguage; thesecountries include Botswana, Cameroon, Dominica, Fiji, the FederatedStatesof Micronesia, Ghana, Gambia, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines (Philippine English), Puerto Rico, Rwanda, the SolomonIslands, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
efl e nglish as f oreign l anguage
EFLEnglish as Foreign Language
  • For speakers of EFL English serves no purpose in own country
  • Historically learned for communication with ENL speakers
  • Nowadays used for communication with other non-native speakers
  • Example for EFL: Germany
world englishes
World Englishes
  • World Englishes:

„Any language variety of English including those developed by communities in which English was not indigenous in modern history.“

  • ( The Routledge Companion to Sociolinguistics, 2007, p. 234)
pidgins and creoles

Can you guess what language this is?

These lines are taken from a famous comic strip in Papua New Guinea:

  • "Sapos yu kaikai planti pinat, bai yu kamap strong olsem fantom." "Fantom, yu pren tru bilong mi. Inap yu ken helpim mi nau?""Fantom, em i go we?"
  • Translation:

'If you eat plenty of peanuts, you will come up strong like the phantom.''Phantom, you are a true friend of mine. Are you able to help me now?'Phantom, where did he go?'

  • A simplified language derived from two or more languages is called a pidgin.
  • It is a contact language developed and used by people who do not share a common language in a given geographical area.
  • It is used in a limited way and the structure is very simplistic.
  • Since they serve a single simplistic purpose, they usually die out.
  • If the pidgin is used long enough, it begins to evolve into a more rich language with a more complex structure and richer vocabulary.
  • Once the pidgin has evolved and has acquired native speakers ( the children learn the pidgin as their first language), it is then called a Creole. An example of this is the Creole above from Papua New Guinea, TOK PISIN, which has become a National language.
  • Why TokPisin according to you?


  • contact between two or more groups with no common language
  • often as a result of slavery or other population displacements
  • great motivation for speakers to communicate (and often of dramatic social inequality),
  • trade (originally, Lingua Franca and maritime jargon)
  • The superstrate language (the dominant variety, e.g. English), spoken by those with more power, is the source of most of a creole's vocabulary, while its substrate languages (the subordinate ones), spoken by the source populations, generate the syntax and phonology of the pidgin/creole.
  • Creoles are complete languages, Pidgins are not.
  • This is because Pidgins are new, while Creoles have had time to develop.
why pidgins
  • 19° century
  • Slaves from Africa brought over to NorthAmerica
  • Work in the plantation
  • Separated and mixed up with people of other communities
  • Unable to communicate, they couldn’t escape
  • There is always a dominant language which contributes most of the vocabulary of the pidgin, this is called the superstrate language. The superstrate language from the Papua New Guinea Creole example above is English. The other minority languages that contribute to the pidgin are called the substrate languages.
World's creoles:

Portuguese-based creoles (example Angolar Creole Portuguese)

Spanish-based creoles (Papiamentu Creole Spanish)

Dutch-based creoles (Negerhollands Creole Dutch)

French-based creoles (Haitian Creole French)

English-based Atlantic creoles (Jamaican Creole English)

English-based Pacific pidgins and creoles (Tok Pisin)

Pidgins and creoles based on other languages (Nubi Creole Arabic)

a pidgin
A Pidgin
  • is a contact language or lingua franca that arose naturally (not like e.g. Esperanto)
  • does not have native speakers
  • is reduced in linguistic form and grammar
  • is restricted in contexts of use
  • is typically unstable and highly mixed
  • may sometimes be a stable variety with norms of acceptability,
  • but is NOT a fully adequate natural language.
a creole
A Creole…
  • does have native speakers
  • has developed, through expansion in linguistic form and grammar,
  • and through extension in use (communicative & expressive functions),
  • into a complete and adequate natural language
  • which is typically stable and autonomous in its norms
Tok Pisin

(tok means "word" or "speech" as in "talk", pisin means "pidgin") is the Creole spoken in northern mainland Papua New Guinea

Like many pidgins and creoles, has a far simpler phonology than the superstrate language. It has 16 consonants and 5 vowels.

  • Nasal plus plosive offsets lose the plosive element

e.g. English hand becomes Tok Pisin han

  • Voiced plosives become voiceless at the ends of words, so that English pig is rendered as pik in Tok Pisin
  • The noun does not indicate number, though pronouns do.
  • Adjectives usually take the suffix -pela (from "fellow") when modifying nouns; an exception is liklik "little". Liklik can also be used as an adverb meaning "slightly", as in dispela bikpela liklik ston, "this slightly big stone".
  • Pronouns show person, number, and inclusiveness.

Repetition is very common in Tok Pisin. Sometimes it is used as a method of derivation; sometimes words just have it. Some words are distinguished only by reduplication: sip "ship", sipsip "sheep".

  • There are only two proper prepositions: bilong (from "belong"), which means "of" or "for", and long, which means everything else.
  • Some phrases are used as prepositions, such as long namel (bilong), "in the middle of".
language use standard vs creole
Language Use: Standard vs Creole

Jamaican Standard and Jamaican Creole exist side by side in the island in a typical diglossic pattern.

Creole is used by most people for everyday, informal situations - it's the language most Jamaicans use at home and are most familiar with (and is closest to their hearts); it's also the language of most local popular music and Dub poetry.

Standard, on the other hand, is the language of education, high culture, government, the media and official/formal communications. It's also the native language of a small minority of Jamaicans (typically upper class and upper/traditional middle class).

  • English asanInternational Language
english as a global language
English as a global language
  • Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a "world language," the lingua franca of the modern era. While English is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a second language around the world. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural sign of "native English speakers", but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. It is, by international treaty, the official language for aerial and maritime communications. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.
  • English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union (by 89% of schoolchildren), followed by French (32%), German (18%), and Spanish (8%). Among non-English speaking EU countries, a large percentage of the population claimed to be able to converse in English in the Netherlands (87%), Sweden (85%), Denmark (83%), Luxembourg (66%), Finland (60%), Slovenia (56%), Austria (53%), Belgium (52%), and Germany (51%).[42]Norway and Iceland also have a large majority of competent English-speakers.

Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. English is also the most commonly used language in the sciences.

warm up

Is English so powerfulbecause North Americansspeakit?

Is English so powerfulbecauseitsgrammaris easy?

Is English so powerfulbecauseof the British Empire?

Whatabout the Internet?


What do youthink the future willbe?

Youhave ten minutestosay:




what is a global language
Whatis a global language?
  • A language that develops a social role recognised in every country.
  • How?
  • As an official language (second language)
  • As a foreign language
what makes a global language
Whatmakes a global language?
  • It depends on the number of people that speak it. True  False 
  • English has less grammar than other languages and therefore it is easier to learn. True  False 
  • Children of all cultures learn to speak over more or less the same period of time. True  False 
  • What makes English appealing to learn?
Used as first language, second language and foreign language it is inevitable that a language will be used by more people than any other language.
A language does not become a global language because of its structural properties. A language becomes a global language for one main reason: the political, economical and military power

of its people.

A lingua franca is a medium of communication for people who speak different first languages.
  • A pidgin is a language with a reduced range of structures and use, with no native speakers. (e.g. West Africa Pidgin English is used between several ethnic groups along the West African Coast)
the need for a global language
The need for a global language
  • Political bodies (from the 1950s in particular)
  • International accademic world
  • Business community
the dangers of a global language
The dangersof a global language
  • Linguistic power.
    • People who speak it as a mother tongue could be in a privileged position.
  • Linguistic complacency
    • It could eliminate the motivation for adults to learn other languages.
  • Linguistic death
    • It could contribute to the disappearance of minority languages ancd cultures
on the other hand
On the other hand…….
  • Linguistic power
    • Language learning from early stages is encouraged.
  • Linguistic complacency
    • Growing awareness of the importance to learn more languages, particularly in the English speaking community.
  • Linguistic death
    • The processes of language loss are independent from the emergence of a global language
    • Intelligibility and identity can co-exist.
Local languages continue to represent local identities, as English is seen as the primary means of achieving a global presence.
  • English plays a central role in empowering the subjected and marginalized communities.