English Around the World

Module code: EN3143
Module co-ordinator: Dr Cathleen Waters

  • What has caused the great diversity in English varieties outside Britain today? 
  • What linguistic features distinguish these varieties? 
  • What happens when English interacts with other languages? 
  • Are English teachers in Asia the latest British imperialists? 

In this module we will build on the historical material from the History of the English Language module and the concepts of the first- and second-year language pathway modules, including Sociolinguistics, to explore varieties of English around the world. You will gain experience in conducting a small research project on a topic of your choice, reflecting critically on the use of English, especially varieties of English outside the UK.

We will focus on modern and contemporary data, exploring varieties of English from around the world, as well as the critical debates that underpin its study. The course materials include sociolinguistic readings about English outside Britain (e.g. Mesthrie & Bhatt, Kachru, Johnstone, Jenkins, Phillipson) and an examination of a variety of primary sources such as popular music, film/television, internet sites and literary works.

You will carry out data collection and analysis, making use of various types of data (e.g. written and visual media, recording and transcribing conversations, using questionnaires) as appropriate. This data will be used in the weekly teaching sessions but may also form part of the final assessment for the module.

Topics covered

  • Features distinguishing different varieties of English outside the UK (e.g. Standard American, African American Vernacular English, Australian English etc.)
  • Models for describing the use/spread of English and contemporary variation
  • Results of language contact situations, including pidgins and creoles
  • The roles of English in multilingual nations and English as a lingua franca
  • ‘Ownership’ of English and the roles of literature, media and the internet 

Learning

  • Ten two-hour seminars

Assessment

  • Project proposal, 500 words (10%)
  • Essay, 3,500 words (90%)