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Contemporary and Global Englishes

Overview

  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: Kinga Kozminska
  • Assessment: a 2500-word essay (100%)

Module description

This module introduces you to contemporary and global Englishes from a linguistic perspective. It investigates how English is (re)interpreted, contested and reclaimed by various members of the global community and how specific linguistic, sociohistorical and ecological circumstances gave/give rise to the emergence of different English practices.

Critically engaging with linguistic literature, we pay particular attention to variation (phonological, lexical, syntactic, pragmatic), change and contact, and how observed competing norms of English usage are embedded within multilingual and sociohistorical dynamics. We analyse selected sociolinguistic and contact linguistic literature: how English practices intersect with race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality or age in Britain; and postcolonial contexts and emerging varieties of English of the globalised and mobile world. Carefully examining findings from qualitative and quantitative studies, reported power dynamics and complexity of contemporary ‘English’ linguistic repertoires, we study similarities and differences between English-based pidgins and creoles in the Caribbean, Africa or the Pacific, migrant and diasporic Englishes and multicultural urban varieties including multicultural London English.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Introduction: What may ‘English’ mean?
  • Locating Englishes in time: some historical evidence
  • Locating Englishes in space: evidence from dialectology
  • Variation in sociocultural space: intersectional studies in the UK
  • Variation and Englishes in post-colonial contexts
  • English-based pidgins and creoles and the Empire
  • Diasporic and emerging migrant Englishes
  • Englishes in international lingua franca contexts
  • Reflections and future directions

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand theories, concepts and methodologies in intersectional, postcolonial and decolonial linguistics
  • examine the role of variation, contact and change for shaping the English-speaking world
  • understand and discuss structural (linguistic), demographic and sociohistorical circumstances that gave/give rise to different English practices (classed, gendered, ethnoracialised, diasporic, multicultural, postcolonial, migrant, lingua franca, etc.)
  • demonstrate basic knowledge about diverse theoretical perspectives on global Englishes
  • critically assess the meaning of ‘English’ together with implications of standard language ideology for today’s sociolinguistic landscape
  • interrogate, formulate and present original questions and future directions for the study of English
  • demonstrate skills in linguistic analysis with a focus on variation (phonological, syntactic, lexical, etc.); research skills; communication skills
  • engage with confidence in the latest debates in linguistics in order to successfully confront the history and colonial legacy of linguistics
  • apply principles of linguistic theory and description to contemporary English problems.