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What model to use in teaching English for International Communication? Richard Watson Todd King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Some statistics about English use • Approximately 1.5 billion people speak English reasonably fluently • English is taught as the main foreign language in most countries • Over 1 billion people are learning English ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Who uses English with who? • Tourism in Thailand: • International tourist arrivals January-September 2001: • About 50% of tourists are from East Asia • Another 18% are from Asean countries • 27% are from Europe, the Americas and Australasia • Only a proportion of the last group are likely to be native speakers of English ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Why have a model? • Latin was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire • Now Latin has evolved into e.g. Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian • These are largely mutually unintelligible ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Why have a model? • Will English retain its mutual intelligibility? • Need a model as a reference point for intelligibility ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
What model to use? • British English • American English • International English ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Aspects of language examined • Grammar • Vocabulary • Spelling • Pronunciation ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Grammar • British v. American English: • frequency of use of past perfect • have got v. have • International varieties: • frequent 'unusual' tense choices e.g. Indian English ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Vocabulary • British v. American English: • tap v. faucet • bonnet v. hood • pavement v. sidewalk • International varieties: • many examples of distinctive vocabulary in many international varieties ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Spelling • British v. American English: • colour v. color • organise v. organize • travelling v. traveling • International varieties generally follow either UK or US ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Pronunciation • British v. American English: • oregano • Within British and American English • e.g. How does Alan Shearer say "an away game"? • International varieties: • very noticeable differences between varieties leading to potential mutual unintelligibility ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Models to use • Grammar: any model • Vocabulary: British English • Spelling: American English • Pronunciation: selection of varieties of International English • BUT differences between varieties of international English mean that most varieties should be covered for all aspects of language ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Using International English as a model • Thai teachers or other non-native speakers (with reasonable competence) are valid models in teaching English for International Communication • need to raise students' awareness of differences between the varieties of International English ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Answers to the handout • 1. Singaporean • 2. Irish • 3. Indian • 4. Brunei • 5. Singapore • 6. Brunei • 7. Indian • 8. Irish • 9. Indian • 10. Irish ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Key points regarding the handout: • Only covers grammar and vocabulary. Need to also treat spelling, pronunciation, pragmatics, discourse etc. • There is a range of intelligibility in the sentences depending on their match with global norms ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Key points regarding the handout: • Need to consider initial intelligibility in deciding whether to use a feature as a focus (e.g. no. 5) • Only covers 4 varieties. Need to cover as many varieties as students are likely to come into contact with. • Includes varieties considered to be native speaker varieties ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Recommendations for teaching English for International Communication • The model used can be any generally intelligible variety of English (no need for NS teachers) • Exposure to a wide range of pertinent varieties, especially for pronunciation, is needed ©2006 Richard Watson Todd
Recommendations for teaching English for International Communication • Efforts should be made to raise students' awareness of differences between the model used and the relevant varieties of English • For practical purposes, there may be times when a British or American model is used ©2006 Richard Watson Todd