Essay about The Emergence of English

Essay about The Emergence of English

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The emergence of English began to appear in 5th century AD after the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians invaded Britannia in the 4th century. Referred to as Old English back in the day, the language has undergone several transformations to where it is now called English. Today, over 750 million people speak English as a language and at least half of those use it as their mother tongue (McCrum et al., 2002, pg. 9-10). Many people rely on English to serve them financially and for social purposes (Crystal, 2003, pg. 29). Besides this socio-cultural factor, it has gained prominence around the world as several countries have adopted their own variety of the language and English is being used more frequently as a foreign language. Together with this geographical-historical factor, the socio-cultural factors allow English’s future as a “global language” to become more of “a reality”. To understand how English has spread across globally, we will look at a model created by Braj Kachru. Kachru’s model of the spread of English is divided into three concentric circles: the Inner Circle, the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle (Kachru, 1992:356). Countries such as the United States, Australia and Britain are part of the Inner Circle. According to Kachru, the English in the Inner Circle are “norm-providing” varieties where it is the dominant language (Davies, 2005, pg. 45). Other places such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are part of the Outer Circle, where English was brought over through colonial means (Davies, 2005, pg. 45). The English in the Outer Circle territories are “norm-developing” varieties that have recognized the growing importance of English as a language and in these areas; English has been given a higher status. Melcher...


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...ith standard Singaporean English. Graddol et al. goes on and says that Singlish has been described as “Colloquial Singapore English”, a lower variety of Singaporean English used by less competent speakers or that it is used “by some language learners at the beginning stages” by the National University of Singapore and has been panned by government officials for flopping as a international language. The Singaporean government has banned Singlish from television and advertisements while is showing strong support for standard Singaporean English. The relegation of Singlish as an inferior language and the promotion of standard Singaporean English, which has close ties to standard British English, bring us back to the question of uniqueness. How can we identify any variety of English as a ‘distinct’ one if it is closely related to another standard variety of the language?

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