Journal of the Institute for Second Language Development

Journal of the Institute for Second Language Development




March 2006
Gender and Academic Performance in English Communication Courses
July 2007
A Case Study Of A Japanese Learner In The UK
September 2007
Course Blogs for Overseas Study Preparation: A Survey of Student Opinions
September 2007
An Emerging Japanese English
February 2009
Observations on One Japanese University's General English Program
December 2013
Incentivization and In-class Participation in the Japanese University English Language Classroom


An Emerging Japanese English

September, 2007


Troy Miller (MA ELT)

Nagoya University of Foreign Studies,
School of Contemporary International Studies

Nagoya, Japan


The decisions language teachers make everyday need to be seen in relationship to broader language concerns (Auerbach, 1993). Amongst these is the use of English in a global context.

English is currently the second most spoken language in the world, followed by Spanish. Interestingly Mandarin has the most speakers, despite it really only being used in China, Malaysia and Taiwan. It is important to recognise that although Mandarin is the most spoken, it is English that people desire to learn.
Speaking English is a real advantage for getting jobs in most parts of the world. It is also by the far the most used written language on the internet. It is interesting to look at the types of English spoken and its different uses.

It is estimated that for every old-country native speaker there must be at least three nonnative users of English (Kachru, 1996). The original variety of English, Received Pronunciation, can be found in only 3 to 4 percent of the British population (McArthur, 1992). In this paper, I will look at the world Englishes paradigm and consider its implications for language teachers in Japan.

World Englishes

World Englishes refers to the outer circle countries from Kachru's concentric circles (Kachru, 1985). Although Philipson first proposed the idea, Kachru is advancing his theories of world Englishes. In order to examine the question of whether there is one English or if there are world Englishes, I will summarize some of Kachru's arguments and the implications of them.

Kachru's three concentric circles, the inner, outer and expanding are the basis of his work. To summarize, the inner circle is composed of the traditional English speaking countries of Great Britain, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc. The outer circle is primarily composed of colonized countries such as Nigeria, Singapore and India. The expanding circle is comprised of countries where English is being learned as an international language. Kachru's theory is that by large-scale research into the use of English, local Englishes and varieties of Englishes will be justified (Kachru, 1985).

While monolithic English is still observable today in international newspapers it is easy to find examples of emerging Englishes. One example can be found on the internet. The recent phenomena of blogs are an example of Englishes.

A recent talk show on the BBC was examining a website where people from around the world were writing their blogs in English about their countries and how their lifestyles were being affected by change in their countries. All of the writers were using English.

On this program some of the bloggers were interviewed and their different Englishes were very obvious. While none of them were native English speakers, their varieties seemed to be embraced by the program. There were no subtitles as is sometimes seen on American news programs when a non-native speaker is talking.

This program was an example how emerging Englishes are used when different people from Kachru's expanding circle countries are encouraged to use their own Englishes simultaneously without worrying about using English that is considered correct by one of Kachru's "inner circle countries".

Kachru writes about the ownership of language and tries to establish a relationship between a language and its functions. In effect, he is trying to qualify the countries in the outer and expanding circles of his concentric circle by defining the range in the culture English is used and the depth or how far the English has penetrated into society.

Kachru also talks about the affects of the choice of the use of English and the implications it may have in a multilingual society. Traditional inner circle countries often view English as their own language and often feel hesitant to relinquish ownership to the outer and expanding circle countries.

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