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U214

  • Date Submitted: 10/08/2013 02:29 PM
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Course: U214 TMA: 01
Why is it so difficult to decide how many speakers of English there are around the world today?

The difficulty to define how many speakers of English are around the world is not a challenge because it can be resolved simply by using a global linguistic survey. The challenge, however, resides mostly on the knowledge to decide which speakers of English are to be considered as such. Well noted Initially, Edward Blyden, a professor of linguistics of the 19th century, argued that the English language is not born from anyone, but is a cumulative contribution of dialects by Celts, Greeks, Romans, Danes, Saxons, Normans accumulating to itself elements…’from the Ganges to the Atlantic’ (Blyden, 1888, in Leith and Seargent, 2012, p. 127). Useful reference Following Blyden’s definition, it is notwithstanding that the English language is not a ‘pure’ language by itself, but is a construction of vernaculars.√ Interestingly, standard English language bestowed the dialect of London Mention Caxton in this context as its official status in the 15th century, which in the latter spread all over the world (Beal, 2012, pp. 69-70). √ However, this essay attempts to discuss: who counts as speakers of English? Why the name ‘Englishes’? And what are the issues in monitoring the number of English speakers? Relevant questions
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To start with, some scholars point out that it is no longer appropriate to talk of single English, but in fact there are many different English languages all over the world (Seargent, 2012, p.27). √ This suggestion comes as a stepping stone in understanding that a lot of varieties of English classified global speakers at different degrees of acquisition. Thus, Braj Kachru, a contemporary linguist, came up with the eminent idea of the ‘Three Circles’ of English – ‘Inner’, ‘Outer’ and ‘Expanding’– to demonstrate how English is globally used (Seargent, 2012, p. 30). √ At first glance, what might be discerned from the ‘Inner Circle’ of...

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