English in Its Social Contexts: Essays in Historical Sociolinguistics

By Tim William MacHan; Charles T. Scott | Go to book overview
no linguistic crystal balls, but all the sociolinguistic indicators suggest that, in their nativized forms, the diaspora varieties of English will continue to be major contact languages and that creativity in English, especially in its role as a part of national literatures in Asia and Africa, will continue for the foreseeable future.In the second diaspora of English, a large number of bilingual and multilingual speech communities have adopted and recognized it as a vital additional language. The sociolinguistic implications and effects of such an adoption are that the English language has come out of its traditional Western fold and has acquired many new linguistic conventions and cultural and literary traditions. One has to recognize this unparalleled linguistic change, since the role of English in its social context will be only partially understood if the contexts of convergence and change of the World Englishes are not viewed as appropriate sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors. What is needed is a perspective that is integrative and that considers function as crucial to our understanding of language dynamics.
NOTES
1.
This chapter draws heavily on my earlier publications (specifically, Kachru, 1982c, 1983, 1986a, later).
2.
The optimistic estimated figure of 2 billion users has been given by Crystal ( 1985:9). He believes that "if you are highly conscious of international standards, or wish to keep the figures for World English down, you will opt for a total of around 700 million, in the mid 1980s. If you go to the opposite extreme, and allow in any systematic awareness whether in speaking, listening, reading or writing, you could easily persuade yourself of the reasonableness of 2 billion." However, he hastens to settle for a lower figure, saying, "I am happy to settle for a billion. (See also Strevens, 1982.)
3.
See, e.g., Asrani ( 1964); Bailey ( 1990); Desai ( 1964); Mazrui ( 1975); and Ngũgĩ ( 1986).
4.
See V. K. Gokak, The Golden Treasury of Indo-Anglican Poetry, New Delhi: Sahitya Academi, 1970; K. R.S. Iyengar ( 1962); T. Kandiah, "New Ceylon English" (review article), New Ceylon Writing, 1971:90-94; R. Wijesinha, ed., An Anthology of Contemporary Sri Lankan Poetry in English, Colombo: The British Council, 1988; T. Rahman, A History of Pakistani Literature in English, Lahore, Pakistan: Vanguard, 1991.
5.
Several examples of code switching given in this chapter are from "Code-mixing Across Languages: Structure, Function, and Constraints," by Nkonko M. Kamwangamalu, Ph.D. dissertation submitted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989. Actual sources of each example and their sociolinguistic and syntactic analyses are given in Kamwangamalu's dissertation.
6.
Over the years a vast body of literature, presenting various viewpoints and attitudes on this topic, has developed. Shah's collection and Bailey's paper are just illustrative.

REFERENCES
Asrani, U. A. 1964. What Shall We Do About English? Ahmedabad: Navajivan.
Bailey, Richard W. 1982. "The English Language in Canada." In Bailey and Görlach, eds. 1982. Pp. 134-176.

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