The Spread of English Around the World -- The New Englishes

Annika Hohenthal, Department of English, University of Turku, Finland

In the following, I will use Kachru's model of new Englishes (in e.g. The New Englishes: 1-5). He has visualized the spread of English around the world as three concentric circles representing different ways in which the language has been acquired and is currently used.

The Inner Circle refers to the traditional historical and sociolinguistic bases of English in the areas where it is the primary language (native or first language; UK, Ireland, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand). The Outer Circle comprises regions colonized by Britain; the spread of English in non-native settings, where the language has become part of the country's chief institutions, and plays an important "second language" role in a multilingual setting (India, Singapore, Malawi). The Expanding Circle involves nations which recognize the importance of English as an international language, but they do not have the history of colonization, nor does English have any special status in their language policy. In these areas, English is primarily a foreign language.

The term "new Englishes" is used for the varieties which have developed in the Outer Circle, have been transplanted and, therefore, can also be called "diaspora varieties". In a historical and linguistic sense, these varieties are not new. They are called "new" because it is only recently that they have been linguistically, and literaturewise, recognized and institutionalized, although they have a long history of acculturation in geographical, cultural and linguistic contexts different from the English of the Inner Circle. There is a decline of competence from educated English to "broken" English (which is considerably mixed with local languages).

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