INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR ENGLISH EDUCATION IN JAPAN 2003-01-15
2. Various Types of English
3. International English
4. Languages and Identity
5. English for Educational Purposes
The current English education system in Japan was essentially established during the Meiji Era. The Meiji government was greatly impressed by the superiority of Western science and technology. The establishment of the language education system was mainly focused on the acquirement of knowledge from Western countries. Since then no substantial reforms or adjustments have been conducted in spite of the educational reforms by the U.S. Occupation Forces. In classrooms throughout Japan the time-honored grammar translation method has been prevalent until now.
But today’s rapidly changing world urges us to upgrade the English education system immediately in order to accommodate new circumstances. Among these new circumstances, highly conspicuous features are the internationalization of English, the increase in the number of non-native speakers and the relative decline in the status of traditionally English-speaking countries.
The internationalization and the diffusion of English has accelerated more and more, because of the development of transportation and the mass media, the nationwide mass education system, and the universality of science and technology. As English becomes more internationalized, English education in Japan should be adjusted accordingly.
The increase in the number of non-native speakers leads to the emergence of local varieties, though American and British varieties still dominate. The increasing importance of local varieties leads us to considerate the possibility that such varieties of English can be a norm and educational model.
The decline in the status of traditionally English-speaking countries as well as Western cultures has had an impact on English education in Japan. As former colonies are economically taking off, the old image of them as backward countries is becoming irrelevant. In many of those countries English has been spoken as a second language and has become geographically institutionalized. In accordance to their development, it is advisable to pay more attention to the varieties of English they speak.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the above-mentioned developments and to find out what implications they have for the English education system in Japan. We will look for a new way of thinking which corresponds to the present-day sociolinguistic realities.
2. Various Types of English
English is a language which is the most widely used across the world and, consequently, has produced a considerable number of varieties(1). Before we look into these varieties, it is necessary to classify them from several viewpoints for better understanding of multi-faced World-English. Here we categorize them according to acquisition and function.
2.1 Classification by Acquisition
From the way a language is acquired, we can classify English into three: English as a first language, English as a second language and English as a foreign language. Native speakers learn English as the mother tongue, (a first language). Their English is called English as a first language. Non-native speakers are divided into two subcategories according to whether they learn English as a second language or a foreign language. English as a second language is typically found in the former British or American colonies where English was widely used as a language of instruction at school, as a language of business and government, and of everyday communication by some people. English as a foreign language is found in countries where English is taught as a subject in schools but not used as a medium of instruction in education nor as a language of communication (Richards et al 1985:93).
2.2 Classification by Function
The function of English can be categorized as follows: English as an intranational language; English as an international language. English as an intranational language is used typically in some former colonies such as India, Malaysia or Nigeria. These countries have various ethnic groups each speaking different languages, and the only existing common language for them is English. They speak English with their fellow country men, while among their own ethnic group they usually use their mother tongue(2). When English functions in this way, it is termed English as an intranational language.
English as an international language functions when English is used across boundaries among people of different nationalities. This function of English is found almost all over the world.
In order to cover the function of English as both an international and intranational language, Larry Smith (1982:14) advocates the terminology English as an international and intranational language (EIIL)
2.3 Kachru’s Model
Kachru’s classification (1982:12) is more relevant to our discussion. He created a concentric circle model to explain the varieties of English. His model is composed of three categories: inner circle, outer circle, and expanding circle. Figure 1 shows this model.
The inner circle includes the traditionally English-speaking countries, such as America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. We may refer to the English of these countries as Native English.
The outer circle corresponds to countries where English is learned as a second language. This variety of English is spoken mainly by people living in former colonies of Britain and America. This circle includes India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippine and so on. English has been used in intra-national communication, judicial and civil administration, and higher education for such a long time that English has become institutionalized. They developed their own nativized form of English and some of them even speak English as a first language(3).
In the outer circle English also functions as English as an international language. People use English to speak to people of other nationalities. But this function is confined to elites, while the general public need English only as an intranational language.
The expanding circle corresponds to countries where English is used as a foreign language. The rest of the world belongs to this category, including such countries as Japan, China, Thailand, Iran, Germany, France, etc. People use English less frequently than users in the inner and outer circles. Among the major features of the expanding circle are varying degrees of English competence and the influence of local languages. Their English has been derogated as the least prestigious and highly unstable. But numerically it surpasses English in the other two circles.
English in the expanding circle functions mainly as English as an international language. In the inner and outer circles English is mainly used when a speaker is talking to a fellow speaker within a country. Of course, English is also used across boundaries as an international language, but is not used so frequently in this way as it is as intra-national language. In the expanding circle English has a highly restricted function in specific contexts: tourism, commerce, and international transactions. The structure of these forms of English is rather unstable so that people have to resort to native English as a model to emulate. The level of competence among its users varies from total beginners to near native-like speakers.
Pidgin and creole English exist outside the expanding circle. They have such a long history of mixing with local languages that it is almost impossible to call them a variety of English(4).
2.4 The Shift of Gravity
Recently the number of non-native speakers of English ( the outer circle and expanding circle combined ) is greatly increasing in comparison to that of native speakers. Non-native speakers are speaking more and more often with other non-native speakers, especially in international settings. English begins to function more frequently as an international language than as an intra-national language. We can easily notice the fact that the center of gravity is moving from native speakers to non-native speakers, namely, from the inner circle to the outer circle to the expanding circle.
Academics are beginning to show an interest in this phenomenon, whereas very few took up research on this area in the past. Gorlach (1984:200) mentioned “there was little encouragement of local forms of English before the sixties, or did the scholarly world take sufficient interest in this world of nonideal speakers,” But recently several academic studies concerning English varieties have been published such as Baily and Gorlach (1982), Platt, Weber and Ho (1984), Trugill and Hannah (1985), and Cheshire (1991).
2.5 The Problem of Model
For a long time the English of native speakers has been regarded as the most prestigious form of English. Especially, GA (General American) or RP (Received Pronunciation) have been models for educational purposes. GA refers to the variety of English spoken by about 90 million people in central and western United States and in most of Canada. RP is identified with the English used by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
While these varieties of English have enjoyed a prestigious status, English of non-native speakers such as Indian English, Singaporean English or Japanese English are thought of as peripheral, deviant or even deficient. They are considered to be unfit for educational purposes. As the shift of gravity in the world of English is moving, some scholars advocate that local varieties could be a model for English teaching. For example, Kachru (1982, 1985) observed that Indian English could serve as a model for Indian students. Nakamura (1987:51) said ” Japanese educated English would serve as the best model for Japanese learners of English.” Higuchi (1992) claimed that not only native English but also the new varieties of English including Japanese English would be a suitable pedagogical model.
3. International English
3.1 English as an International Auxiliary Language
When English is referred to as a second language or a foreign language, there is a connotation of it being alienated from users. To eliminate this negative effect, some scholars use the term auxiliary language which sounds closer to users and gives users a sense of ownership of the language. Auxiliary language is a language which supplements the function of the first language, and is used by plural ethnic groups within a country for internal communication or is used by people of different nations to communicate with one another. Larry Smith (1982:1) advocated the use of a new terminology English as an international auxiliary language (EIAL). He claimed that the current English already functions mainly as an auxiliary language to supplement the function of local languages. Therefore, this new term reflects the reality of the world of English speakers. In history, other languages have functioned in this way, but English most frequently serves this purpose.
3.2 International English
The word International English has already been used more often in various academic areas and sounds more familiar to the general public than the word English as an international auxiliary language. A similiar concept is from time to time referred to as Englic by Suzuki or Neutral English by Ogawa, or Nuclear English by Quirk (Nakamura,1986:53). The definition of International English causes difficulties, but at least we can say it is complex and multi-faced. Although International English is the sum total of Englishes ( inner circle, outer circle, expanding circle ), the emphasis is put on the non-native varieties of English. The English in the outer circle and expanding circle have common features in contrast to English in the inner circle. English there is more simplified, and its features include limited vocabulary, reduced grammatical structure and some changes in pronunciation. Each variety has its own special phonological, lexical, syntaxical features. International English is an overlapping part of those Englishes which corresponds to a core part of English. But we have to admit at this stage that it is almost impossible to present International English in any concrete form.
4. Language and Identity
Concerning the relationship between language and identity, Giora et al (1972) presented the concept of Language Ego. Language Ego accounts for the identity people develop in reference to the language they speak. Once the language ego is established, acquiring a new language will threaten the ego which is now a part of one’s self-identity. The language ego may account for the difficulties that adults have in learning a second language (Brown, 1980:53-54). In language learning, it is desirable for a learner to reduce the resistance from his language ego.
4.1 Black English
In the U.S.A. African Americans speak differently from the way white people do. Some of them intentionally keep their distance from standard English. Black English has been derogated by the dominant conservative white society, but it is becoming a symbol of pride. They began to realize Black English is one of their assets and try to attach their identity to that language. Their language ego is established by Black English. Here we find an example of the closeness between language and identity.
4.2 The Necessity of Maintenance (Retention) of our Identity.
It is the widespread use of English that makes it an international language. But that should not result in the Westernization of the entire world. If we had the same identity or only one dominant culture throughout the world, the world would become so dull, boring and monotonous that nobody would like it. Various cultures make the world intriguing and worth living in. Those varieties of cultures create a beautiful harmony in the world. The spread of English should not be a homogenizing factor which causes cultural differences to disappear, but the use of English offers a medium to express and explain these differences.
It is natural for human beings to try to preserve their identity cultivated by their mother tongues. Language education should not threaten the language ego established by the mother tongue. In this respect we should separate language learning from acquiring cultural aspects which may threaten our language ego. Larry Smith (1983:2) observed, ” It is not even necessary to appreciate the culture of a country whose principal language is English in order for one to use it effectively. Many people use a Roman alphabet and Arabic numerals without becoming Roman or Middle Eastern.”
4.3 Engish and the Former Colonies
The word language imperialism was once used to describe the dominance of the languages of ruling countries. English was once regarded as a tool of colonization. Immediately after independence former colonies started to discard their former rulers’ language. English reminded people of past days of unhappiness and humiliation. Some countries were successful in replacing English with an indigenous language, others had difficulties .
India, a former British colony, planned to dispose of English and, instead, tried to set up Hindi as a common language throughout the country. However, other ethnic groups are strongly opposed to the adoption of Hindi as the sole official language. They believe their own language and culture, such as Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, etc, is no less valuable than Hindi and should not be wiped out. Language riots even broke out in South India. Because English is ethnically a neutral language, it still remains a uniting factor for that country.
In contrast to India, Malaysia has been to some extent successful in its efforts to phase out English as an official language. The government encouraged people to use only the national language (Bahasa Malaysia) and to reduce the dependence on English. Malaysians are gradually using Bahasa Malaysia in every walk of life. Platt, Weber and Ho (1984:199) reported “It is predicted that in years to come English will in reality assume the role of a foreign language in Malaysia by educated Malaysians. The same may happen in Tanzania, where kiSwahili has replaced English not only as a medium of instruction but also as one of the functional varieties”(5).
Even though the function of English as an intranational language could be replaced with a native language due to national pride, the function of English as foreign language should be encouraged because of practical reasons. English is disliked as the language of imperialism, but it is appreciated for its usefulness in the modern world, People have a tendency to attach emotions like admiration or fear to English. But non-native users must now dissociate English from their colonial past, and not treat it as a colonizer’s linguistic tool. And they must avoid regarding English as an evil influence which necessarily leads to Westernization.
While we want to preserve our identity, we need a common language to communicate with other ethnic groups. As a solution to those contradictory demands, we can keep our varieties of English for the sake of our identity. In countries where English is spoken as a second language, their institutionalized English is beginning to be a source of national pride. Kachru (1982:45) mentioned “in Ghana the type that strives too obviously to approximate to RP is frowned upon as distasteful and pedantic.” and “Many Nigerians will consider as affected or even snobbish any Nigerians who speak like a native speaker of English.” Nigerian English begins to function as a symbol of their national pride. Nigerian English makes it possible for Nigerians to preserve their language ego as well as to communicate beyond their own community. In this sense International English will be a promising candidate for these two functions because International English is the sum total of local varieties.
4.4 Language Universals and Easiness to Learn
Various types of English are emerging throughout the world. Although they have spread extensively all over the world, they are strikingly similar in terms of syntax. According to the theory of Language Universals, a language is composed of a core part and a peripheral part. The core part of a language is shared by any language and easier to learn. International English is a common and overlapping part of various types of English and, therefore, is the core part of the English language. The core part of English is syntaxically, devoid of “s” (the third person singular), lacking a plural number and past tense marking. Phonologically it has monophthonization of diphthong, vowels of unvarying quality, reduction of consonant clusters. Lexically it is devoid of slangy expressions and words indigenous to each country. From the viewpoint of education, international English is easier to learn. Anyway it is wiser not to spend a great deal of time memorizing insignificant parts of a language.
Culturally the core part of English is also International English. It is easier to learn, because it is free from cultural aspects. Some cultural aspects of language are very difficult to understand. The Japanese honorific system is hard to learn, because non-Japanese are not accustomed to the seniority system in Japan. After a learner goes into Japanese society and assimilates himself into Japanese society, he can understand this language system. Just as the Japanese language without the honorific system is easier to learn, English without the Anglo-Saxon culture is easier to learn.
4.5 The Danger of Abuse by Traditionally English-Speaking People.
If the English language would continue to be owned exclusively by the traditionally English-speaking peoples, they might abuse English. If they were to clearly realize that the possession of English is their weapon, they might try to monopolize it and use it to degrade other varieties of English. They would brand other speakers of English as deficient speakers of English. They are afraid of a new political and economic power, especially from the Third World. By restricting English to its traditional forms, they can protect their status which they have enjoyed for a long time.
English was not selected as lingua franca because English is clear, beautiful, logical, or full of rich vocabulary. We cannot deny the worth of English, it is indeed a powerful language and has produced much great literature. But in its function as a language of communication any other language could have replaced English in the past. By a sheer accident of history English came to be a lingua franca.
Perhaps, speakers of American or British English will continue to be in the center or in a prestigious position in the English-speaking world. But as their political or economic power becomes relatively marginal, their English will become marginalized. Their control over World-English will be weakened and World-English will be open to anybody. Everybody can take part in the creation of World-English.
The motivation to study English is also changing. Formerly a kind of integrative motivation was stressed as being crucial for second language learning. But these days learners show less interest in the culture of English speaking countries. W.D.Shaw (1983:21-33) conducted a questionnaire concerning the motivation to study English among Asian students. He found that the top-rated reasons were associated with the instrumental types of motivation. The students were less interested in speaking or acting like native speakers. Singaporean and Indian students recognized the importance of speaking English, however, that was because they could use it to communicate with their fellow countrymen in specific social or business situations.
4.7 The Richness of Various Englishes
The emergence of various Englishes will enrich the world of English. Kachru (1985:18) enumerated various vocabulary or idiomatic expressions developed in the outer circle, such as Himalaya blunder (a grave mistake), minor wife (a mistress), knocking fee (a bribe), cop-shop (police station), as honest as an elephant, as good as kitchen ashes. This new vocabulary constantly pours into and enriches the ocean of world English. We should not ignore these expressions but appreciate their significance.
4.8 The Problem of Intelligibility
Some critics (Quirk, Prator) asked such questions as: if we allow many varieties of English, how is it possible to communicate smoothly? The existence of many varieties seem to block mutual intelligibility. To keep our identity and mutual intelligibility at the same time seems rather contradictory.
Quirk (1985:6) opposed the idea of permitting various forms of English. He argued that varieties of English in non-native countries are so unstable that they cannot privide any norm as a standard for communication. He also stated that it was doubtful if there was any benefit in exposing the learner to a great variety of usage.
4.9 Spoken English
The problem of intelligibility mainly concerns phonology and to a lesser extent vocabulary. Pronunciation, stress, and rhythm are greatly influenced by background languages(6). Is intelligibility damaged when a non-native speaks in contrast to when a native speaks? Concerning this point, Smith and Rafiqzad (1983:49-59) commented, “It is often maintained that the educated native speaker is more likely to be intelligible to others than the educated non-native speaker.” But their finding based on an experiment was “Since native speaker phonology doesn’t appear to be more intelligible than non-native phonology, there seems to be no reason to insist that the performance target in the English classroom be a native speaker”. They added “Most important, the native speaker was always found to be among the least intelligible speakers,”
Even if there is difficulty in understanding other varieties, this problem can be reduced through education. As long as a speaker speaks clearly, and also a listener listens with patience, there will be communication. It is necessary to have tolerance for different pronunciation patterns. People must become more tolerant to many varieties of educated English and become accustomed to the ways other non-native speakers use English. As long as communication is possible, we should not correct students’ speech.
In spite of the diversity in local forms of educated English, international interactions in business, diplomacy, education, travel, and politics limit this diversity basically to phonology and vocabulary, not grammar. A non-native speaker of educated English should make use of this common part of syntax and vocabulary in order for his English to be understood.
4.10 Written English
There are few differences in written English. Written English is essentially for educated people. Across the world educated people share various things, such as technology, science, news or other information. Besides, written English is relatively less influenced by a background language. We need not be worried about the intelligibility of written English as much as spoken English.
But the logic of written English is different according to the writer’s background culture. The order of paragraph is quite different from culture to culture. Kaplan (1966) explained that the flow of logic or paragraphs is specific to ethnic groups. He found four patterns of discourse structure: lineality; parallel constructions; circularity; freedom to digress and to introduce extraneous materials. Anyway people have no obligation to follow the flow of Western ways of thinking.
4.11 The Limits of International English
As was mentioned earlier, if we adamantly insist on the maintenance of our own language and culture, there will be a breakdown in communication. While we understand people’s attachment to their own national identity, we should also consider communicability. Local varieties of English must serve two goals, namely, nationalism and communicability. The sum total of various Englishes is called International English. Thus we could accept the existence of various Englishes, or their sum total, namely, International English.
Through International English people cannot communicate the more sensitive thoughts and emotions. They are mainly dealt with through peripheral parts of a language. International English is a non-native language to everybody. In order to convey a complex message, people should use their native language. This indicates the limitations of International English.
5. English for Educational Purposes
5.1 New English for Educational Purposes
From the viewpoint of education, several simplified forms of English have been advocated. To learn all the aspects of one language would take a long time and this method is only effective when learners are integratively motivated.
To learn two languages is less economical than to learn one language. Basically bilingualism or multilingualism is an extravagance but it is inevitable for certain societies. Simplified English is one of the answers to these problems. Simplified English adjusted to specific purposes is fundamentally instrumentally oriented. Here the role of English is determined by the specific needs of a particular group of learners.
There have been several attempts to create a simplified form of English, such as ESP which is an abbreviation for English for Special Purposes, or English for Specific Purposes. In addition, we have English for Academic Purposes, English for Science and Technology, and English for Nursing. These contrast strikingly with English for General Purposes(7).
5.2 Basic English
Basic English is another example of simplified English. C.K.Ogden and I.A.Richards developed Basic English in 1929. Basic English was intended to be used as a second language for international communication. Basic English uses only 850 words and fewer grammatical rules than normal English, but it is claimed that anything that can be said in ordinary English can also be said in Basic English. But many thought that it is artificial and unnatural like Esperanto. It was not extensively used in any time in history (8). @
5.3 Norm of English Education in Japan
The Course of Study by the Ministry of Education makes no mention of which English should be taught. But it admits implicitly that the most prestigious form of English is American or British English, and that therefore only these varieties should be taught. Traditionally British English (RP) was generally accepted as a model, and it is rather recently that the American model (GA) has been presented as an alternative model.
Smith and Bisazza (1982:67) said “The assumption that non-native students of English will be able to comprehend fluent non-native speakers if they understand native speakers is clearly not correct. They need exposure to both native and non-native varieties in order to improve understanding and communication.” If students are exposed to few types of English, they will find it hard to understand other types of English.
We should consider the possibility that other varieties of English can be a target language. It is advisable that we introduce as many varieties as possible in our textbooks. Indian English, Malaysian English, etc, could be taught to our students. It is also desirable to establish Japanese English as our target language.
If we have American or British English as our target language, we are always frustrated because the goal is not attainable. But a target language such as Japanese English would give the opportunity to experience a real sense of achievement because it is within a reach of our capacity. Japanese English is a part of International English. So to establish Japanese English is, at the same time, to establish International English as a target language.
For educational purposes we need a norm which is appropriate and a reflection of the current trends. According to Kachru (1985:16), the inner circle has norm-providing varieties, the outer circle has norm-developing varieties (endonormative and exnormative(9)) and the expanding circle has norm-dependent varieties (only exnormative). While the inner circle is at present regarded as the norm maker, the outer and expanding circle are regarded as the norm breakers. But the center of gravity is moving to the outer and expanding circle, so these circles begin to provide a norm. In this sense Japanese English will be a norm for the Japanese people.
A research focusing upon Japanese college students (Benson,1991:44) indicated that “many showed an interest in speaking English with a Japanese accent”. Furthermore, it was argued that the reason for this is that “A growing feeling of national confidence may well be the cause of the strong support for ‘Japanese English'”. Recently we have better possibilities to provide Japanese English with students as an educational norm.
5.4 Teaching Materials
By teaching American or British English, we present mainly American or British culture to students. Textbooks are filled with the politics, customs, geography, climate, food, etc of Britain or America. In the past people believed that to learn English was to learn about the culture of America and Britain. Now English has begun to be separated from its original culture and to be attached to every culture. As Kachru (1985:20) mentioned “English ceased to be an exponent of only one culture – the Western Judaeo – Christian culture; it is now perhaps the world’s most multicultural language.” Currently India is the third largest country to publish English books. Their English can also be a valuable and instructive teaching material.
Complying with new circumstances, our textbooks have begun to show the life of Indians, Arabians, or Africans. Secondary school textbooks, especially lower secondary school textbooks, have showed a great improvement in this respect. Junior high English textbooks are contantly under scrutiny by the Education Ministry and editors are put under pressure to keep in touch with students’ needs.
But college English textbooks show little improvement. In comparison to those of secondary schools, the improvement is slow and less clear. The textbooks are still full of Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, or Somerset Maugham. Though readers enjoy such great literature, their curiosity should go beyond the Anglo-Saxon culture. Not only American or British writers but also Indian, Singaporean or Malaysian writers can contribute to a greater English literature.
Time Magazine (Feb.8,1993 issue) featured English writers in various non-native countries. As the language and literature are decentered, such writers as Vikram Seth (from Calcutta), Michael Ondaatje (Colombia), Ben Okri (Nigeria), Kazuo Ishiguro (Japan) came to play an important role in English literature. They continue to write and contribute to World-English.
As many commentators have pointed out, topics relating to Asia, South America, Eastern Europe or Africa are still not featured enough in our textbooks. Textbooks should be full of variety.
5.5 Possible Features of Japanese English
The Japanese language is closely related to our identity as Japanese. Japanese English is also of our own making and has the capacity to bear our identity. It is possible in the foreseeable future that Japanese English will be incorporated into the Japanese culture like Kanji. When Kanji was introduced to Japan, it was alien to our culture. Since then gradually Kanji has been assimilated into the Japanese culture.
Japanese English is different from other types of English mainly in terms of phonology and vocabulary. Japanese English has,in terms of vocabulary, a great number of words which originated from the Japanese language; sushi, sashimi, tempura, kimono, keiretsu, sogoshosha, karoshi, zen, samurai, karaoke, and compounded words in a Japanese context, nighter, gasoline stand, office lady, salaryman. The pronunciation, intonation, and stress of Japanese English is influenced by the Japanese language. Some day the Japanese speech patterns may become prestigious and be legitimatized.
As a solution to many problems with which English education in Japan is facing, the introduction of International English as a model to teach English will be of some use. International English could have a positive impact upon English education in Japan in many ways.
Traditional target languages such as American English or British English are inappropriate for ordinary students. International English is a promising alternative target language. A change in the target language from RP or GA to International English will initiate a positive change which will benefit students and teachers. International English belongs to anyone in any nation. So far the meaning of English for us is their English, but International English is our English. The gap between English and learners will be narrowed. To establish Japanese English as a model is to give students a sense of achievement and relaxation and to reduce stress.
American English, Japanese English, Indian English, or any other variety of English will and should contibute equally to the betterment of International English. Japanese English can contribute many elements to International English in terms of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. But most English textbooks in Japan still deal mainly with traditionally English-speaking countries. We should introduce more varieties to our textbooks.
When any language becomes international in character, it cannot be bound to any one culture. International English is more culture-free. It will not hurt nor destroy our Language Ego which is related to our culture. In the context of international English, Language Ego becomes dynamic and flexible.
Linguistically, International English is simpler and well-adopted for communication. It has a limited vocabulary and a simplified form of grammar. So it is easier to learn. Basic syntax such as, verb agreement, word order, and tenses will probably remain the same but the paragraph arrangement is likely to change according to the writer’s culture.
The grammar and vocabulary of International English is not a uniform one, it has many varieties. So we have to teach students to be tolerant. We must become more tolerant of the English used by others. Tolerance can be gained by exposure to various speach patterns. Students must be taught to expect and accept differences and not to be upset by them.
So far International English has not materialized. We have to admit International English does not have a concrete nor tangible form. But International English has already begun to function. It is not a problem of approbation, it is a matter of recognizing the facts and changing socio-linguistic realities. As for the definition of International English, it is a matter of our attitude. It mainly refers to our attitudes towards learning. As long as learners are open-minded and willing to accept any form of English which is clear and understandable, learners are on the way toward International English.
So far, to show a local variety of a language, the word dialect has been used. But dialect has a derogatory connotation, it is preferred in this paper to use the more neutral expression, variety.
Due to a long history of administration and education, English came to be extensively used. After the Second World War those newly-independent countries were founded along boundaries set up arbitrarily by colonial rulers. Inevitably new nations are a patchwork of ethnically and linguistically different races. Inside the country people need a lingua franca to communicate with people of other ethnic groups. As their common language they have only their former rulers’ language, English or French.
Due to diffusion, there are two distinguishable phenomena: the nativization of English and the Englishation of other world languages (Kachru, 1985:11).
Some varieties of English are called pidgin, or creole. Pidgin is a language which develops as a contact language when groups of people who speak different languages come into contact and communicate with one another, as when foreign traders communicate with the local population or workers on plantations or in factories communicate with one another or with their bosses. They are originally from English and liguistically closely related to English, but an ordinary English speaker may find it rather difficult to understand its pidgin or creole form. Pidgin usually has a limited vocabulary and a very simplified grammatical structure. Creole originated from pidgin and has become the native language of a group of speakers, being used for all or many of their daily communicative needs. Usually, the sentences structures and vocabulary range of a creole are far more complex than those of a pidgin language. Pidgin and Creole English could be located in the expanding circle. But these languages are so changed that we cannot call them a kind of English any more. In this paper we have no time to discuss the implications of this.
They reported the opposite phenomenon at the same time (p.199),” but in Burma and Sri Lanka, recently English has been reinstated as a subject in primary schools…… it moves toward the English education.”
Trugill and Hannah (1985:1) mentioned “the term Standard English often refers to grammar and vocabulary but not to pronunciation.” They admitted that spoken English is so diversified that it is hard to set up the standard.
In Japan some argue that the traditional grammar-translation method still has validity, especially for academic purposes. We should regard the traditional method as a kind of EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and should not take it for English for General Purposes.
Basic English once contributed to a practical need. During the Second World War the Allies mobilized all the materials and producted as much ammunition as possible. Factories across the world faced the communication problems. To overcome this difficulty, Basic English was learned in a short time and provided various people with an attainable communicaton method.
When a language has a norm within the area where it is spoken, it is called endonormative. In Britain and the USA, English is endonormative. When a language has its norm outjside the area where it is spoken or taught, it is called exnormative. This is the case for English in a country where it is a second language, such as Malaysia, Nigeria, or Hong Kong (Richards et al,1985:92-99).
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