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Standard and Non-Standard English - Essay Example

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English is often dubbed as the global language. This is why English is taught as a foreign language in many schools around the world mainly for educational purposes, and to a far lesser extent, to enable pupils to communicate with native speakers of the language…
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Standard and Non-Standard English

Download file to see previous pages... Whether we like it or not, there exist some of variations of the English language. In America alone, a great deal of language variation can exist within the bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom, in both English and in the non-English languages. In a bilingual setting in Los Angeles, one teacher identified three varieties of English and three varieties of Spanish in her classroom. Each variety carried with it information about social status and the cultural background of the speaker: Instruction officially went on in the standard forms of English and Spanish, but students used two other varieties of English-Black English and Chicano English-and two other versions of Spanish-Chicano Spanish and a rural northern Mexican variety (Ovando et al., 2002). Globally, Kachru (1992) had also revealed the varieties of English spoken worldwide on the basis of countries in which English is spoken. Kachru (1992) divided countries based into three types labelled the Inner, Outer and Expanding circles. Examples of the inner circle of essentially English-speaking countries include the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Traditionally non-native speakers have looked to these varieties as providing standards and norms to which they are expected to conform. McArthur (1994) argues that there is now a fair degree of standardisation between many English-speaking nations. Not only the UK and the USA are fairly standardised in their English usage, but Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa as well, fall into this group.
Despite some level of standardisation, important differences remain. There are still many people from many regions who manifest significant divergence from the norms of "mainstream" English usage. Trompenaars (1993) summed up the essence of the problem: " as we all know, even the English and Americans are separated by a common language which is used quite differently in different contexts and which has some serious differences in the meanings of individual words" (p. 69). However, although there are regional differences within the native inner circle varieties, people who speak these regional variants have control of and understand the standard native variety of the country in which they reside. Problems in communication need not arise and therefore difficulties in communication between native speakers speaking different varieties of English will not be covered here.
Moreover, the Outer Circle refers to countries where English functions as one of many languages and has an official (e.g. Nigeria), or an "associate official language" (India) status. English is used in these countries for a variety of purposes including educational, social, administrative and literary domains. Examples include Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Countries in the Expanding Circle use English as an international language. The speakers do not have a colonial past and the English they learn is based on Inner Circle varieties. Speakers have differing degrees of competence, there are little in the form of shared norms, differences occur mainly in proficiency. In these countries (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.) the number of users is increasing rapidly.
The problem with standard and non-standard varieties of English in education is that grammar is usually sacrificed. This is because children learn the structure of the English language-its grammar- intuitively as they learn to talk; ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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