An Emerging Japanese English
Troy Miller (MA ELT)
Nagoya University of Foreign Studies,
School of Contemporary International Studies
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
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 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
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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