ENGL 372: World/New/Post Colonial Englishes

Fall 2010—George L. Dillon

Jennifer Jenkins, World Englishes, 2nd ed. Routledge, 2009. ISBN-10: 0415466121

Rajend Mesthrie and Rakesh M. Bhatt, World Englishes: The Study of New Linguistic Varieties. Cambridge UP, 2008. ISBN-10: 0521797330

Packet (to be handed out)

If you come across people saying or writing things like these, you may well wonder who they are, what they are saying, and what language they are speaking:

  1. (from newspaper)

    Health and environment him all big-fellow something all woman along country today he got big-fellow worry along him.

  2. …which-one principal came here, she's just cheeky like the other one

  3. (from newspaper apropos Sonja Gandhi)
    What's more we should respect her for being a layak Indian bahu who stayed on to do her duty by her husband's family, she reared her children and instilled in them the best Indian values, she took care of her mother-in-law and husband's legacy.
  4.    A: How come you borrow my shirt now got hole one?!
        B: Borrow that time already like that, wut!
        A: Then why you never say first?
        B: You never ask, wut!

  5. (ten year old child to another child who said something in Igbo)

    Tokam for inglish na, a no de hyar di ting we yu de tok.

There's a range of difference here, but all have a major component of what we call English. We might not call all of them New Englishes—(1) and (5) are from pidgins (at least originally)—but the others do illustrate the term. New/World/Global/Post Colonial Englishes have been developing and increasing in use in former colonies very rapidly and present new and unique challenges to how we think of languages and standards.

This is a course in language variation, and the core of our work will be collecting and analyzing samples of the different accents and texts produced by users of these New Englishes. We will explore Mesthrie and Bhatt's claim that New English departures from the standard in accent, grammar, vocabulary, discourse markers, and speech acts cluster rather closely together. That is, there are perhaps Angloversals. At the same time, we see "the standard (or standards)" and standardization in a new light. In addition to sharpening the analytic skills introduced in ENGL 370/ LINGS 200/400, we will learn to use the International Corpus of English corpora and corpora gathered from the Web. The course will function in effect as one in applied corpus linguistics. Though we concentrate on linguistic analysis, we will not forget that these New Englishes are emerging as means of serving the practical needs and expressive desires of very diverse groups whose forebears were colonial subjects of Great Britain or her former colony. Language Policy issues, however, are the central focus of a different course, English 478.

The basis of the grading is four assignments that will each bear 20% of the weight of the final grade. The first three will culminate individual sections of the course (on Phonetics/Phonology, Lexicon, and Syntax); the last will be a full analysis of a particular sample/text of a WE integrating the skills you will have acquired and will function in the place of a Final Exam.

The assignments are organized by topic and issues rather than country by country, but it will be helpful if each of you chooses a country with an emerging WE to track over the course of the quarter. The variant you choose to track need not be one of those in the ICE corpus—in fact, I would be happy if you chose Nigeria (.ng) or South Africa (.za) or other countries, though there are some tips to get started for the ICE languages. Generally in this course we will slight the Inner Circle WE's where English is spoken generally, as a first language, and monolingually, but if you really, really want to track Irish English, or Canadian, or Australian, you may do so. Just let me know.

Most of the software for the course is provided in the form of Web apps, but you might also find it convenient download a copy of the free concordancer program AntConc. There are versions for all the main platforms.

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Date Readings Topics
29 Sept. - - Introduction:
Scope of course
One English, or Many?
Acronyms: L1, L2, ENL, ESL, EFL, ELF
A little transcription
4 Oct. A1, B1, D1 (& activities) Spread and Contact;
Phonetic alphabet
Chart for English Accents
BBC-Radio 4
BBC Learning English
John Wells' Lexical Sets (with GenAm and RP)
6 Oct. MB: 1-27; 188-198 English Language Complex
World/New/Global/Postcolonial Englishes
Practice transcribing
GMU Speech Accent Archive
International Dialects of English Archive
11 Oct. MB: 27-38; A3; Smith&Nelson article on Intelligibility Models (the Circles etc.)
Transcription practice
13 Oct. MB: 118-130; Phonetics Project due
18 Oct. MB: 200-211; B3, C3, D3 Quirk/Kachru debate
20 Oct. A2-D2; MB: 39-43 Pidgins, Creoles, and Patois
the creole continuum
25 Oct. Wikipedia: Nigerian Pidgin
Rendering a sermon in Pidgin
Dagmar Deuber: "First Year of Nation's Return ..."
White Man Speaking Pidgin
Example: Nigerian pidgin
27 Oct. A4, B4; MB 109-118 Variation across Outer Circle
Lexical differences
1 Nov. Bolton &Butler article on Lexicography//Philippine Borrowing, standard, independence
3 Nov C4, D4 Achebe/Thiongo exchange
Singlish &Singapore English
NEs and literature
8 Nov. A5-D5 Questions and Issues of The Standard
Speak Good English Movement
Lexicon Project Due
Priti Sandhu on Accent and Access in India
10 Nov. MB 39-58; Structural Features:NP
15 Nov. Bautista article on gram. features of PE Using ICE to study grammar
17 Nov. MB:58-77; Structural Features: VP
22 Nov. Rogers article on syntactic features of IndEng Genres; using WebCorp
29 Nov. MB: 78-96 Structures: Cross Clausal
Comp Project Due
1 Dec MB: 131-55 Pragmatics&Discourse
6 Dec. A7-C7; Katchru &Nelson article on Code-mixing code switching/mixing;
Indian E, HK E, China E
8 Dec. A6-D6 English as a Lingua Franca
VOICE corpus of spoken ELF
Final Projects Due



  1. Library (can be online)
    • World Englishes
    • English Today
    • English World-Wide
  2. ICE corpora tagged and loaded into Corpus Work Bench Concordancer






Hong Kong


George Dillon (dillon@u.washington.edu)
Office hrs: MW 3:30-4:30 in A404 Padelford
the URL of this document is: courses.washington.edu/englhtml/engl372/engl382.html
Last Revised: 9/29/10