By Sari Pietikäinen, Alexandra Jaffe, Helen Kelly-Holmes, Nik Coupland
Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users"
AUTHOR: Edgar W. Schneider TITLE: English Around the World: An Introduction SUBTITLE: An Introduction PUBLISHER: Cambridge University YEAR: 2010
Elena Lawrick, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN USA
'English Around the World' is the third volume in 'Cambridge Introductions to the English Language', a series of undergraduate textbooks for English language studies. This textbook provides a comprehensive overview of the spread of English in the English-speaking and post-colonial countries. The primary audience is undergraduates and ''the interested lay reader''; however, the book has a lot to offer to advanced linguists, serving as a concise overview of both the historical circumstances of the spread and linguistic features of nativized varieties of English.
The book includes nine chapters, two appendices, a glossary, and an index. It is accompanied by a companion website providing audio recordings of authentic texts that illustrate varieties of English discussed in the chapters. The content is organized in a tripartite manner. In the first three chapters, the author lays out a framework for studying the global spread of English, introducing the basic notions and concepts (Chapter 1 & 2) and surveying historically the milestones of the diffusion of English throughout the world (Chapter 3). The following three chapters bring this framework to life with profiles of the presence of English in specific regional contexts, including North America and the Caribbean (Chapter 4), Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa (Chapter 5), and Africa, Asia, and the Pacific (Chapter 6). Each individual chapter opens with a summary of socio-historical specifics of the spread in the region under scrutiny, then describes linguistic features of regional Englishes, and concludes with case studies of individual varieties functioning in each region. Finally, Chapters 7-9 theorize the global spread of English, engaging the reader in the discussion of such issues as language development, ideology, norm setting, mixing, hybridity, and pedagogical implications of the global spread of English.
Each chapter includes the following sections: preview, listings of sections, chapter summary, exercises and activities, key terms, and further readings. In addition, Chapters 3-6 contain maps, timelines of the spread of English in a region under scrutiny, and texts showcasing regional varieties of English. The author provides a detailed commentary on the texts, whose audio versions are available on the companion website. Appendix 1 presents phonological symbols used in the book, Appendix 2 includes questions that may guide a study of the presence of English in a regional context, and the Glossary explains linguistic terms used throughout the book. The book is concluded with References and Index sections. I will now briefly summarize the contents of the chapters.
Chapter 1, the ''Introduction'', links the global role of English with its diverse local realizations. The chapter opens with a brief discussion of the global role of English, which the author uses to make the point that the real reason behind the unprecedented global spread of English lies beyond British colonialism. He argues that English has come to be the global language because it has been appropriated and nativized by vernacular speakers of post-colonial countries as a local resource, leading to the emergence of distinct nativized varieties of English. This point is illustrated in Text 1, ''Knowledge'', which showcases phonological and grammatical features of Malaysian English.
Chapter 2, ''Basic Notions'', introduces the apparatus (i.e. basic notions and concepts) for and major approaches to studying the global spread of English. Building on the concept of language variation, the author constructs a framework for the examination of this phenomenon. He contends that ''A language is not a monolithic entity; in reality, it comes in many shadings, in varieties and dialects. And such varieties are all linguistic systems which in their respective contexts are communicatively fully efficient, regular, and ''grammatical'''' (p. 18). The author defines the notions of sociolinguistic parameters, variety, dialect, register, accent, and standard. Then he discusses how language variation is realized in distinct features of a language variety on the phonological, lexical, morphological, and syntactic levels. The next section focuses on language change and the role that language contact plays in this process (including the notions of borrowing, transfer, pidgins, and creoles).The concluding section surveys three major approaches to studying English in the world. These include: 1) the classification of world Englishes as English as a native language/English as a second language/English as a foreign language; 2) Kachru's representation of the global spread of English in the form of Three Circles: the Inner Circle, the Outer Circle, and the Expanding Circle (Kachru, 1992); and 3) Schneider's own Dynamic Model. Of these frameworks, the Dynamic Model of the evolution of postcolonial Englishes is presented in greater detail. The model suggests that in postcolonial contexts, the emergence of new Englishes undergoes five stages (foundation, exonormative stabilization, nativization, endonormative stabilization, and differentiation) of a ''fundamentally uniform evolutionary process caused by the social dynamics'' between colonizers and local users of English.
Chapter 3, ''Historical Background'', takes the reader back to the onset of European colonization. The spread of English as an artifact of colonization seems to be the leitmotif reiterated in this and the following three chapters. This chapter opens with a brief overview of European colonization history, placing focus on the relationship between a type of colony (i.e. trade, exploitation, settlement, and plantation), and the communicative pattern it produced (i.e. pidgin, ancestral English, nativized variety, or creole, respectively). Next, the colonial expansions of the British Empire and the United States of America are briefly surveyed. Then, the author discusses the current international status of English and makes a strong case that a growing global presence of English is secured by its ''pluracentricity'', i.e. nativized realizations of English in diverse local contexts such as Singapore, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka.
Chapter 4, ''Language Crossing an Ocean: Old World and New World'', explores the establishment of English on the British Isles and its further spread to North America and the Caribbean. The British Isles section is exemplified with a case study of Northern English, the American English section with a case study of Southern US English, and the Caribbean section with a case study of Jamaican creole.
Chapter 5, ''Settlers and Locals: Southern Hemisphere Englishes, Transported and Newly Born'', traces the expansion of English to the Southern Hemisphere through settlers' colonies. The extralinguistic circumstances leading to the emergence of endonormative (in which the local norm is recognized, codified, and accepted in the society) varieties in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa are chronologically recreated and illustrated with the case studies of Australian English and South African Black English.
Chapter 6, ''Missionaries, Merchants, and More: English is Useful, English is Ours'', examines several Outer Circle Englishes (Kachru, 1992). It covers a geographically vast region, including Sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific, and South, Southeast, and East Asia. The chapter profiles the socio-political contexts of English use and features of nativized Englishes in West and East Africa (illustrated with a case study of Nigerian English), South and Southeast Asia (a case study of Singaporean English), and the Pacific (a case study of Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea). The chapter concludes with a section on English in East Asia (a case study of learning English in China).
Chapter 7, ''Language Development: A General Perspective'', takes the empirical explorations of Chapters 4-6 back to a theoretical level by introducing 1) the mechanism of producing new varieties and 2) the classification of common features of nativized varieties. The former is premised on the conceptualization of language as a process (as opposed to language as a product), i.e. ''as a huge set of 'features' (sounds, words, sets, phrases, syntactic rules and patterns, etc.) which are continuously activated and replicated, with some potential of being modified in form or frequency in this process'' (Schneider, 2011, p. 190). Accordingly, in the process of its global diffusion, the English language produces new varieties reflecting characteristics of languages in contact with English and innovative efforts (simplification, restructuring, mixing, etc.) of local users of English. The author discusses factors playing into the production of new postcolonial Englishes from both a language-internal (simplicity, grammaticalization, exaptation, or functional relocation) and language-external (demography, solidarity, prestige, and a founder effect) perspective.
Chapter 8, ''Issues and Attitudes'', focuses on the major current debates regarding social and linguistic outcomes of the global spread of English. The chapter provides a concise survey of the major arguments regarding: 1) users of English (the spread through elitism vs. grassroots); 2) linguistic outcomes of the spread (English as a 'killer language' vs. denial of access); 3) potential existence of the common-core international English (international English vs. English as a lingua franca (ELF) vs. intelligibility); 4) norms (exonormative vs. endonormative; 5) ownership of English (native vs. first vs. dominant language); and 6) language mixing and cultural hybridity. The chapter concludes with pedagogical implications.
Chapter 9, the ''Conclusion'', concludes the survey with the point that in the process of its spread, English has been both globalized and ''glocalized'' (i.e. developed into local varieties which have acquired international status. The concept of English as a glocal language was introduced by A. Pakir in 1999, as cited in Yano, 2001), producing new dialects and varieties, which have the right to exist. The author advocates multilingualism and the acceptance of diverse transformations of English.
'English Around the World' is a masterfully executed survey of the spread of English from the British Isles to post-colonial countries, in the context that Kachru (1992) terms as the Inner and Outer Circles of Englishes. The description of distinctive linguistic features of varieties of English--both 'old' and nativized--is situated in a concise yet detailed examination of historical and social contexts of the spread. Furthermore, this book provides the reader with a concise and comprehensive overview of the major issues and approaches in the research on World Englishes.
A competitive advantage of this book is that it is accessible to both novice and advanced readers. In addition to being written in a clear and accessible style, the book provides the readers with all necessary tools, including maps, timelines, exercises, audio recordings, suggestions for further readings, glossaries of linguistic terms and phonetic symbols, lists of key notions discussed in chapters, and questions to guide further investigations of varieties of English.
Thanks to these features, 'English Around the World' is a highly versatile resource for teachers and students. It may be used as a major reading in a course such as World Englishes. Alternatively, individual chapters may be easily integrated in a variety of courses, from historical linguistics and creole studies to language pedagogy. The textual and audio samples of varieties of English provided with a detailed author's commentary may serve as a supplement in numerous linguistic courses. The list of questions included in Appendix 2 provides an insightful guide to independent projects that explore local varieties of English.
'English Around the World', however, does not avoid a couple of potential shortcomings. Firstly, the discussion of the spread of English in the Expanding Circle is limited to a brief section on learning English in China, provided with the caveat that the author ''stretch[es] the topic to its boundaries'' (p.176). Given that the Expanding Circle is currently identified with the most dynamic processes of the global diffusion of English, many readers would have been interested in sections discussing the presence of English in Europe, South America, post-Soviet, and Asian countries (note that in Kachru's (1992) term, the Expanding Circle of Englishes includes countries where until recently English functioned as a language of international communication, as opposed to intranational communication).
This limited representation seems to be premised on the author's conservative view of the Expanding Circle Englishes that conditions an emergence of a nativized variety of English by a preceding colonial period. From the author's perspective, a variety of English emerged in a context with no colonial past is not sufficiently stable and distinguishable and, therefore, needs to be treated as ''a learners' interlanguage in a second language acquisition process'' (p. 177). For an interested reader, the alternative perspective is presented in Berns (2005), Kachru (2005), Kachru, Kachru, and Nelson (2006), Kachru & Nelson (2006), Kachru & Smith (2008), and Kirkpatrick (2007).
Secondly, the primary audience of this textbook, i.e., the undergraduate students who are not familiar with the research on World Englishes, would have benefited from a more elaborate overview of the debate regarding the Linguistic Imperialism Theory (Phillipson, 1992), which is essential for theorizing the spread of English in the post-colonial world.
To conclude, like any introductory volume exploring a complex phenomenon, 'English Around the World' has some limitations, which are simply impossible to avoid in a textbook. Nonetheless, this book provides an excellent and much needed resource for students, teachers, and even established linguists interested in the global spread of English.
Berns, M. (2005). Expanding on the Expanding Circle: Where do WE go from here? World Englishes, 24 (1), 85-93.
Berns, M. (2008). World Englishes, English as a lingua franca, and intelligibility. World Englishes, 27 (3/4), 327-334.
Kachru, B.B. (Ed.) (1992).The Other Tongue: English across cultures. 2nd ed. Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Kachru, B. (2005). Asian Englishes: Beyond the canon. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Kachru, B., Kachru, Y., Nelson, C. (Eds.) (2006). The handbook of World Englishes. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Kachru, Y. & Nelson, C. (2006). World Englishes in Asian contexts. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Kachru, Y. & Smith, L.E. (2008). Cultures, contexts, and world Englishes. NY & London: Routledge.
Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). World Englishes: Implications for international communication and English language teaching. Cambridge University Press.
Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Yano, Y. (2001). World Englishes in 2000 and beyond. World Englishes 20 (2), 119-131.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Elena Lawrick holds a PhD in teaching English as a second language from
Purdue University, USA, where she teaches an academic writing course for
international graduate students as a post-doctoral fellow. Her research
interests include World Englishes, the global spread of English, English as
an international language of research and academia, English in Russia, and
Second Language Writing.