Transdisciplinary Approach to Linguistic Diversity: Can We Co-Exist Without “One English”?

Transdisciplinary Approach to Linguistic Diversity: Can We Co-Exist Without “One English”?

Aicha Rahal (University of Gafsa, Tunisia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9531-1.ch026


In this chapter, the author shows the reality of English. Some light is shed on the features of today's English. Then, the debate between monolithic standard and pluralist perspective is presented. The linguistic diversity of English is introduced. Based on this diversity, the aim of the study is to summarize the major studies about pedagogy for English as an international language (EIL). In concluding, the transdisciplinary approach is defined, and some ideas are given about how to implement this approach to unify the linguistic diversity of English.
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Features Of Today’S English

Today’s English has changed. It becomes a global or an international language. Crystal (2003) declares that English is “a language [that] achieves a genuinely global status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country” (p. 3). This language “belongs to all people who speak it, whether native or non-native, whether ESL or EFL, whether standard or non-standard” (Norton, 1997, p. 427). Similarly, Smith (1976) states that “It [English] is yours (no matter who you are) as much as it is mine (no matter who I am). We may use it for different purposes and for different lengths of time on different occasions, but nonetheless it belongs to all of us” (p. 39). There is a shift from a monocentric view of English as a foreign language (EFL) to a pluricentric view of English as an International Language (EIL).

Halliday, MacIntosh & Strevens (1964) assert that:

English is no longer the possession of the British, or even the British and the Americans, but an international language which increasing numbers of people adopt for at least some of their purposes. […] In West Africa, in the West Indies, and in Pakistan and India […] it is no longer accepted by the majority that the English of England, with RP as its accent, are the only possible models of English to be set before the young […] this one language, English, exists in an increasingly large number of different varieties. (p. 293)

Graddol (2006) refers to English as “a new phenomenon” (p. 11). It is multiple English which Kachru names “World Englishes”. WEs is defined as “indigenous, nativised varieties that have developed around the world and that reflect the cultural and pragmatic norms of their speakers” (Kirkpatrick, 2007, p. 3). According to Mackay (2002), EIL is “a language of wider communication both among individuals from different countries and between individuals from one country” (p. 5). WEs represents “the types of spread, the patterns of acquisition, and the functional domains in which English is used across cultures and languages” (Kachru, 1985, p. 12).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Linguistic Diversity: May refer to language variation. It is a way or a method to speak about the varied types of linguistic features including grammar, vocabulary, phonetics, etc.

Pedagogy: Refers to the art of teaching. It includes the methods of teaching, teaching approaches, and techniques.

Pedagogy for EIL: This expression refers to teaching methods and approaches for English as an International Language. It is a new teaching way that integrates the new varieties of English.

Transdisciplinary Approach: An inclusive approach that can include different disciplines, different languages, different cultures, and different varieties together.

World Englishes: This concept refers to the new varieties of English. The globalization of English and culture contact lead to the emergence of new linguistic forms of English. They are known as world Englishes, English as a lingua franca, or English as an international language.

Pluricentricism: A view that supports the new varieties of English or the “Englishes.” It is for the multilingual aspect of English.

Monocentricism: Another view that supports Standard English or the norms. This view argues against the plurality of English.

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