Global Englishes and Multilingual English Speakers
English has truly become a global language from its humble beginnings a few hundred years ago as a vernacular in the land that we now know as England. In fact, the spread of English around the world has led to some interesting questions, one of which we discuss below.
Is there such a thing as ‘Englishes’?
Just as there are many languages, many linguists and scholars believe that there are also many ‘Englishes’ because English is a global language and has a long history of variation across and within countries. Watch the video below about English as a global language.
Now, watch this second video below to learn more about Englishes within the U.S. and how speakers may be ‘bilingual’ in more than one variety of English.
After watching the videos in the previous chapter and this chapter, think about your own experiences. Would you consider yourself multilingual across languages and (English) language varieties?
Nathan Bierma, in his article titled ‘English reigns, but native speakers are losing ground’ published in the Chicago Tribune on April 1, 2004, provides some interesting perspectives about English as a global language. Read the article online to learn about these perspectives.
You will analyze the article in detail, and you will learn how to understand both the structure and content of the article. As you look at the article closely, also engage in some questions that relate to critical thinking:
- What do the terms ‘native English speaker’ and ‘non-native English speaker’ mean?
- Are these terms used globally, or are there contexts where these terms may not be relevant?
- What variety of English is taught in schools? Why?
- What variety or varieties of English do people use in their daily lives? Why?
- You will complete a vocabulary quiz as well as a reading comprehension assignment from this article. In addition, you will need to cite this article at least once in your essay assignment from this module. Like the other materials in this module, this article will help you understand the general topic and the specific focus on the essay assignment. ↵