Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon

Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon

Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon

Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon


This book provides crucial reading for students and researchers of world Englishes. It is an insightful and provocative study of the forms and functions of English in Asia, its acculturation and nativization, and the innovative dimensions of Asian creativity.


The volume, Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon, contextualizes selected dimensions of world Englishes in Asia's Anglophone societies. The ten chapters that follow bring together various perspectives on functions, creativity, canonicity, attitudes and pedagogy.

The term 'Asian English' warrants an explanation. This regional identification marker for the varieties of English used by the region's Anglophone societies is understandably somewhat problematic. But, then, that is true of such other terms that designate regional boundaries such as 'Pacific Rim', 'South Asia', and 'East Asia'. In their discussion of Pacific Rim, Lim, Smith and Dissanayake rightly refer to this dilemma:

In the production of cultural discourse, there is no [Pacific Rim] that is an
[objective] given. Rather, a competing set of ideational constructs projects
upon that location on the globe the interest, power, and vision of these
historically produced relationships, one of the most crucial being constituted
through the Asia Pacific region's participation in geoeconomic system in
which capitalism is dominant. (1999: 3)

In constructs of Asia's Anglophone societies it is these shared ideational — and not necessarily objective — characteristics that are under focus, as outlined in Chapter 2.

The functional dynamics of Asian Englishes — as indeed of other Asian languages — are in constant change. We witness this in each region of Asia through the dynamics of language policies and thus the evolving identities of English, particularly in the post-1950s. The recognition of nativized creativity in English has gradually become yet another marker for establishing such identity in various genres of English, which until recently was considered essentially a 'colonial' linguistic remnant to be discarded with disdain. We see the evolving role of English as integral to national identity now in such places as Malaysia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. There is . . .

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