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The changing world of English

@Jeremy Harmer: (2007)The Practice of English Laguage Teaching.




Although English is not the language with the largest number of native or "first" language speakers, it has became a Lingua Franca: It can be defined as a language adopted for communication between two people whose native languages are different from each others, and where one or both speakers are using it as a second language.
(A language that is used among people who speak various different languages.)
It is because the English is now a language of International communication. For example, the English used between chinese and french bussiness people.

Native speakers are in a decreasing minority:
The English use has grown in the last few decades and if it continues at the current rate, its non-native speakers will outnumber its native speakers.

The future of English "superiority" is also called into question and its growth may one day be halted. The status of English as one language is challenged by the many different "Englishes" being used around the world.

Some quiestions to ask about it is:
1) How good at the language someone has to be before we can say they are "real english speakers"?
2) Does being an English speaker mean only having the ability to speak English?


All of these issues have a bearing on how and why English is taught and indeed what type of English is taught.

There are a number of reasons for the popularity of English as a Lingua Franca. Many of these are historical, but they also include economic and cultural factors which have influenced the spread of the language.
(A colonial history, economics, information exchange, travel, popular culture.)

A colonial history=
When the Pilgrim Fathers landed on Massachusetts coast from England, they brought with them not just a set of religious beliefs, nor only a pioneering spirit and a desire for colonisation, but also their language.
In other parts of the British Empire, English rapidly became dominating means of control. For example, It became like a Lingua Franca in India.
All of it is because the imposition of English as the one language of administration that helped maintain the coloniser´s power.
But English is not unique in the way it travelled around the globe, althouth its predominance is the result of the extended reach of British colonial ambitions.

Economics=
A major factor in the spread of English has been the spread of commerce throughout the world, and in particular, the emergence of the US as a world ecoonomic power.
(The international commerce has taken English along with it.)
All of it is assimilated with the word "Globalisation", described as a term which journalists and politisians have made fashionable and which is often used of "free trade". (The "post-modern globalisation".)
The commercial activity has helped fan the flames of English.

Information exchange=
A great deal of academic discourse around the world takes place in English. For example, Lingua Franca conferences, journal articles, etc. This is probably has something to do with the Internet´s root in the USA and the predominance of its use there in the early days of the World Wide Web.

Travel=
Much travel and tourism carried on around the world in English. Of course, this is not always the case, but for example if you visit to most airports around the globe will reveal signs not only in the language of that country, but also in English, or as many airline announcements are glossed in English too.
So far, English is also the prefered language of air traffic control in many countries and is also used in sea travel communication.

Popular culture=
In the western world, English is a dominating language in popular culture. For example, pop music or the TV viewers.
However, Bollywood (In India) produces more films that Hollywood (In USA) and many countries such as France or South Korea do their best to fight against the cultural domination of American movies.USA, Britain, Canada, Australia do their best to promote their cultural overseas and to attract people to choose them as a study domination.

The growth of English:
Not everyone sees it as a desirable phenomenon because some people are worry about what it means for the cultures or languages, and seeing its teaching is a form of cultural and linguistic "imperialism". The view that learners and non-native speakers of English are victims of linguistic and cultural Imperialism.
For others, that view of the English as a "cultural and linguistic imperialism" is not shared. For example, some think that writers do not write in English as victims but of choise and it is determined by their audience, not just them. Or that teaching English is because the growing and intermixing multiculturalism and not of cultural iimperialism.

The issues that concerns is the language death (one argument is that as more and more people speak English, language will lost). Rather than featuring English as a destroyer, we should, perphaps, concentrate on how to maintain communities with a strong enough identity to preserve the language they represent.
The world of English has change into something very different from what it was in the days of colonisation.


The English as a global language:
Kachru described the world of English in 3 circles.
1) Inner circle-> he put countries such as Britain, the USA, Australia, etc. where English is the primary language.
2) Outer circle-> contained countries where English had became an official or widely-used second language. For example, in India, Nigeria, Singapore, etc.
3)Expanding circle-> represented those countries where English was learnt as a foreign language. For example, Argentina, Japan, Poland, etc.

Now English used more often as a Lingua Franca than as a native language. Since the majority of competent English speakers are not native and yes second-language used, so the inner circle has lost much of its linguistic power.
The emergence of Global English has caused Kachru to propose a new circle diagram where language affiliation is less important than a speaker´s proficiency. Nobody owns English anymore, native and non-native speakers are alike.
1)Inncer circle-> Outside-> [a]. High proficiency // [b]. Low proficiency


The future of English:

The English as the number one world language is questioned. This is because in the USA the fastest-growing language is the hispanic. Is is highly possible that in a future the entire American countries will be English-Spanish bilingual. Language such as Mandarín, Hindu or Arabic would gain in status and importance as their geopolitical/economics power increased.
This does not mean that there is a breakdown of language. English will grow but unlikely to have a catastrophic effect, it faces challenges from other big language groups.
Because native speakers are becoming less powerful in daily use of English, we will have to adjust the way in which both native and non-native speakers experts have traditionally throught about learning and teaching English around the woeld.


EFL // ESL // ESOL // ELF and more

> ESP: (English for Specific Purposes)
English for specialities such as nursing or paper technology or banking.

>EAP: (English for Academic Purposes)
For people who want to use their English in academic contexts.

>EFL: (English as a Foreign Language)
described situations where students were learning English in order to use it with any other English speakers in the world, when the student might be tourists or business people.

>ESL: (English as a Second Language)
ESL students were described as usually living in a target-language community and needed the target language in order to survive and prosper in that community.

>ELF: (English as a Lingua Franca)
The reality of Global or World English(es) has caused some people to become very interested in what actually happens when it is used as a lingua franca, that is between two people who do not share the same language and for whom English is not their mother tongue.
The evidence suggests that non-native speakers are not conforming to a native English standard. Indeed, they seem to get along perfectly well despite the fact they miss things out and put things in which they ´should not do´; they are actually better at ´accommodating´ and non-native speakers seem to be better at ELF communication than native speakers are (these speakers are successful communicators.)
Knowing what we now know about ELF, we should start to think again about what kind of English to teach.

Teaching English in the age of ELF=
The evidence of ELF suggests that we should change what we teach. Instead of conforming to a native standard such as British English, learners need to learn not a variety of English but about Englishes, their similarities and differences, issues involved in intelliibility, the strong links between language and identity, and so on.

>ESOL: (English to Speakers of Other Languages)Instead whatever situation we are in, we are teaching ESOL (English to speakers of Other Languages). This does not mean we should ignore the context in which language-learning takes place, but it does reflect a more multilingual global reality.



Native speakers varieties and other Englishes

The difference between British and American English are well documented. For example, British English speakers regularly use the phrase have got in utterances such as I´ve got a book or Have you got the time? when American English speakers are more likely to say I have a book and Do you have the time? While British speakers in conversation make use of the present perfect in question such as Have you read her lastest article yet? an American English speaker might well say Did you read her lastet article yet? and rhere are many differences in vocabulary use (lift/elevator, flat/apartment, trousers/pants), pronunciation ( /ˈmʌðə/-Mother in British English versus /ˈmʌðər/-Mother in American English) and even spelling (analise/analize, colour/color).
If we consider British English, it only tales a moment´s thought to realise that there are many varieties of English within the British Isles, each with its own vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar.


Native speaker varieties and other Englishes

Around the world English is taught in a variety of situations. In many countries, it first appears in the primary curriculum but many universities a good English is an entry requirement for much education in a global market where English gives the user a competitive advantage.
A growing tren has been for Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), where in secondary schools a subject is taught through the medium of English. In other words, the students learn the language for maatics at the same time as they learn the mathematics they are talking about in English. Rather than just teaching maths in English (a situation which is common in some bilingual schools).
We have already seen other situations where English is studied not just for some unspecified general purpose, but, for example, for academic purposes (EAP) or as English for business. It is clear that the old world of English language teaching is in transition, especially in terms of the language schools which have traditionally taught general English, and for whom many of the teacher exams (CELTA-DELTA) were developed. If CLIL becomes a standard model in secondary schools, the demand for private top-up learning may diminish. If students emerge from primary education with a good working command of English, they may be competent English speakers by the time they get to university level. But whatever kind of English it is, we annot escape the need to decide on the variety or varieties which students are exposed to and learn.
Austarlian, British and American English are still prestige varieties of the language. However, is that they are not the only prestige varieties which all must aspire to. On the contrary, other World Englishes have equal prestige and can serve as aqually appropiate models for teaching. Indeed, there may be good psychological reasons why a student actually wants to speak Singaporean English, with its distinctive pronunciation aspects and special lexical and grammatical patterning. Language is bound up with identity. Speaking English with a singaporean, Argentinian or Turkish accent may make a clear statement about who the speaker is.
A prestige variety of the language will be an appropiate pedagogical model. The actual variety may depen on the wishes on the student, the variety the teacher herself uses, the learning materials that are on offer, or the school or education authority policy.
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