The challenges of world Englishes for assessing English proficiency

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

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Abstract

The exponential spread of English in the contemporary world is simply unprecedented. This dramatic spread has been taking place geographically, involving the many Outer Circle postcolonial states (Kachru, 1986), where “English has achieved such a depth and range of use that it is becoming native in local linguistic contexts” (Saraceni, Williams, & Wright, 2014, p. 142). The language has also been making great inroads to Expanding Circle countries, especially those in Asia and Europe, where “more people than ever want to learn English … [and] English learners are increasing in number and decreasing in age” (Graddol, 2006, p. 10). It is estimated that there are currently over 2 billion learners of English worldwide, and China alone produces more than 20 million new users of English every year (Graddol, 2006). In virtually all European Union member states, over 90% of secondary school students study English as a compulsory or elective subject (Seidlhofer, 2010). Proficiency in English is so widespread in European countries that Seidlhofer (2010, p. 359) notes "‘having English’ in Europe has thus become a bit like having a driving license: nothing special, something that most people have, and without which you do not get very far.” The accelerating geographical spread of the language is well captured by Canagarajah’s (2007b, p. 89) insightful observation that “English has been deterritorialized.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Englishes
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking Paradigms
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages78-95
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781317203506
ISBN (Print)9781138673076
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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