L3. Extra Activity. World Englishes-David Crystal


It is a well-known fact that English is now a global language. In this video David Crystal talks about what happens when English becomes a global language. For example, “when a country takes up the English as a language and adopts it, it immediately adapts it to suit its circumstances.” Therefore, we use a language to talk about what is happening in the world, that is to say, to communicate. For this reason, as Crystal says we all want to have a good English that actually reflects “your local interests, your history, the things that happen around you”. We want to talk as if it was our own language.

What is happening in English as it goes around world and becomes global?

The countries that take up English as an international language, they start immediately to make it their own. In this context, English is pushed in a way it was not before. This happened since English began 400 years ago (American English variety). It only takes weeks to develop a new variety of English. We want to communicate with other people cause we like to tell them what are we seeing, what are we feeling, etc. The British English was mixed with the Indian words that they learnt. Now it happens the same with the modern English world, it is developing different varieties in a lot of countries.

How do we see these adaptations taking place?

“Chiefly in the vocabulary”. For example, if we take the dictionary of South Africa we are going to find 10,000 that are only used in this country. If you do not know the cultural background, you will not know the meaning of these words. In other words, when English goes to another part of the world, there is income, loan and borrowed words, from the other languages around. “That make that English difficult for a foreigner to understand.”

This variety is culturally influenced. We can understand the grammar, the vocabulary, pronunciation, etc but if we do not know an expression or an idiom, we will not understand the sentence.



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