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Current research on Englishes in Southeast Asia
ABSTRACT: Much research on world Englishes (WE) since the 1980s has yet to impact significantly upon recent applied linguistics work in the areas of instruction, curriculum, testing and policy. Much of the received wisdom has been informed by the paradigm established by the earlier study of International English (IE) and its attendant foci in teaching English to speakers of other languages. However, with the emergence of WE as an increasingly recognizable and legitimate discipline in its own right, scholars in Southeast Asia are now paying attention to the research implications of a shift in paradigm and are investigating features associated with new Englishes, analysing mutual intelligibility and communication in English among Association of Southeast Asian Nations users, and establishing genre-based analyses. This paper has a dual focus: the first is to survey current approaches to research on Southeast Asian Englishes, and to discuss the relevance of a world Englishes approach to scholarship in this area. The second part of this paper introduces the papers in this special issue which offer topics relating to Southeast Asia and beyond.
The considerable research on world Englishes (WE) since the 1980s has yet to impact significantly upon recent applied linguistics work in the areas of instruction, curriculum, testing and policy. Much of the received wisdom has been informed by the paradigm established by the earlier study of International English (IE) and its attendant foci in teaching English to speakers of other languages. However, with the emergence of WE as an increasingly recognizable and legitimate discipline in its own right, scholars in Southeast Asia are now paying attention to the research implications of a shift in paradigm and are investigating features associated with new Englishes, analysing mutual intelligibility and communication in English among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) users, and establishing genre-based analyses. This paper has a dual focus: the first is to survey current approaches to research on Southeast Asian Englishes, and to discuss the relevance of a world Englishes approach to scholarship in this area. The second part introduces the papers in this special issue, offering topics relating to Southeast Asia and beyond.
TEN SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
Let me begin by profiling Southeast Asia, which as a broadly defined geographical entity is a vast and complex archipelago stretching from Aceh on the eastern most tip of Sumatra across the Indo-Chinese mainland, to the westernmost point in the Sulawesi Sea. Mainland Southeast Asia and Peninsular Southeast Asia together comprise 10 countries that form an economic grouping, called ASEAN. The 500 million ASEAN nationals speak a great number of living languages and have a most diverse range of writing systems.
∗ Department of English Language & Literature, National University of Singapore, 7 Arts Link, Block AS5, Kent Ridge, Singapore 117570. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Thailand. the drivers are ‘technology’ and ‘globalization’ – both feeding on each other and having a great impact on the felt need of ASEAN nationals to engage with English and in English. Approaches to world Englishes and research strands in the Expanding Circle countries (Indonesia. which is the official language of the ASEAN group and the global language. Language and Communication in the Workplace. AL interchangeably identified with SLA – ESP. Objectives To teach established varieties of English to learners Research strands BANA-based approaches Curriculum design Methodology Materials Development Language Testing In the 1940s. Going through a quick country profile of each of the four Outer Circle and six Expanding Circle nations. including English. 1985) model of the three distinctive existences of English as a global language. Indonesia. when and how can be fruitfully engaged. research based on AL being ‘an academic arm’ of English language teaching. why. Do these drivers impact similarly in the distinctively different circles of English-using Southeast Asia? There seems to me an emerging pattern with respect to the spread of English as a global language. Vietnam. we see that that the urban-rural ratio in the populations gives rise to a distinctive pattern: Outer Circle countries with higher proportions of urban populations tend to show higher per capita incomes. It is also a huge platform for understanding how languages are learnt. Table 1 and Table 2 clearly demarcate the difference between Outer Circle and Expanding Circle research foci in Southeast Asia. The brief country profiles lead us to examine how different disciplines approach the study of English/Englishes in Southeast Asia. the Philippines. and Brunei. all former members of the British Commonwealth and today members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Thailand and Vietnam.330 Anne Pakir Southeast Asia can be likened to a vast laboratory in which studies of who says what to whom in what languages. Myanmar. Southeast Asia is represented in at least two circles of English users. In the Outer Circle we count Malaysia. Laos. Table 1. Halliday (1964) To explore the acts and implications of English language teaching and learning C 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Following Kachru’s (1984. IATEFL etc. Singapore. In the Expanding Circle are Southeast Asian countries which include Cambodia.” Today. Myanmar. driven by accelerated IT use and the complex phenomenon of globalization. Applied linguistics (AL) Functional realities Widdowson (1991). The question to ask is: “What are the drivers of ‘value’ and ‘use’ of English in Southeast Asia?” In two words. taught and used in communication. Language in the Professions. Cambodia and Laos) Approach ELT/EFL pedagogy Some exponents TESOL.
The questions to ask regarding current research in Southeast Asia are two: 1. issues and debates’ offers a possible paradigmatic schema that is useful for us to understand the development of English in Southeast Asia. 1992) IAWE - WORLD ENGLISHES APPROACH: CURRENT RESEARCH TRENDS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA As a field of study. genre analysis • Sociolinguistic dimensions • Ideological dimensions • Pedagogy and Practice • Theory and Applications Kachruvian studies Kachru (1982. 1986) Sociolinguistic realities Pakir (1994. power Linguistic human rights Lexicography Corpus studies The evolution of new voices English embedded in national contexts • Distinctive features of new Englishes • Supra-features e. ideology. interpreting and translating. 2001). What are some of the interesting studies currently conducted on “English in Southeast Asia”? 2. 1998) Ooi (2001) Objectives To express resistance to the linguistic imperialism and cultural hegemony of English To fulfil several objectives. Singapore and Brunei) Approach Critical linguistics Discourse Some exponents Phillipson (1992) Pennycook (1994.g. 1999. there is a marked difference between what is happening in the Outer Circle countries compared to those in the Expanding Circle. Bolton (2002) in his paper on ‘World Englishes: approaches. with regard to research interests and directions. including the expression of a national identity To promote a pluricentric approach to ‘Englishes’ in the Outer Circle ‘The Multiple Expression of world Englishes’ Research strands Language.g. 1990) Lowenberg (e. Approaches to world Englishes and research strands in the Outer Circle countries (Philippines.g. 1993) Smith (e. Malaysia. world Englishes has gained increasing attention. mother tongue education and curriculum design and methodology. language testing and C 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . literacy. discourse analysis.Current research on Englishes in Southeast Asia 331 Table 2. Can some of ‘the research issues’ in the Outer Circle countries of Southeast Asia also become ‘research issues’ in the Expanding Circle countries and vice-versa? We should not be surprised that the Expanding Circle research is following trends already established earlier on by Outer Circle research. In my modification table of Bolton’s (2002) table. 1983. by focusing on language learning (whether foreign or second language learning). Bolton (2002) Berns (e.g.
TEFLIN (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language Table 3. methodology (128). What evidence do we have that the current research in Southeast Asia is evolving in this direction? I turn your attention to a useful source of data in answering the first question of the focus of research for scholars of English in Southeast Asia. but of those who did the following pattern emerged (See Table 4). presumably from the Outer Circle Southeast Asian countries. Consider another set of data: the rise in numbers of professional associations in Southeast Asia linked to English issues. Not every individual reported on these main areas or ranked them. focusing on efficiency in English language teaching and learning. Table 3 indicates all 10 of the ASEAN countries. the research studies may turn to the current ones occupying the attention of language and linguistics scholars in the Outer Circle. Countries and the number of registrants in the Directory Country Brunei Cambodia Indonesia Laos Malaysia Myanmar Philippines Singapore Thailand Vietnam Total C Number of registrants (TESOL/TESL/TEFL teachers and scholars) 7 3 94 12 57 28 46 56 21 13 337 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . 2. The primary concerns of the 337 “English language scholars and researchers in SEAMEO countries” were: English for specific purposes (138). However. and 3 with 1 being the most important. and thus those who are able to make significant contributions to the improvement of English language teaching and research” (SEAMEO Regional Language Centre: Introduction). . An interesting fact that we have to keep in view is that ‘discourse analysis’ and ‘sociolinguistics’ have been identified as main areas of research for the scholars. with the implication that the inspiration and model for these main areas would come from the Inner Circle countries or ‘western’ traditions. These concerns are heavily pedagogical in nature. Each of the online self-registering teachers/scholars had to list their three main areas and rank them hierarchically using the numbers 1. (previously often referred to as Southeast Asian countries) and the number of English language teachers and scholars from each country who registered themselves in the directory.332 Anne Pakir assessment. and instructional materials development (122). . The Directory of English Language Scholars and Researchers in Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Countries is a readily accessible online resource identifying and listing − on a self-selecting basis – “the innumerable individuals who have been involved in teaching English at national and institutional levels . when larger groups of people become English-knowing bilinguals.
the Association for Asian Lexicography is now into its seventh year of existence. and was set up “to promote scholarship. It is a vast pan-Asian organization based in Korea with 134 founding committee members from 16 Asian regions. In my view. It is significant that all eight of the papers report on research done in the Outer Circle countries. CURRENT RESEARCH ON ENGLISH IN SOUTHEAST ASIA I turn now briefly to the second section of the paper where developments in the use of English in the Outer Circle have drawn reflections from individual scholars who have offered papers at the panel discussion that inspired this special issue. A third emergent group is AsiaTEFL which was established in March 2003. especially when norms of interaction and norms of interpretation have become established in these Southeast Asian contexts that have an Anglophone past. Japan and now Singapore. The societies within the Outer Circle C 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Working with JACET (the Japan Association of College English Teachers) and other organizations such as ELTAS (the English Language Teachers’ Association of Singapore). AsiaTEFL tries to centralize these related organizations under one umbrella association. The common feature regarding language issues in the former colonies of the British and American empires is that of the complexities and realities of teaching any language. not just English. and facilitate cross-cultural understanding among persons concerned with the teaching and learning of English in Asia.” These new rallying centers for research and exchange in matters concerning teaching and learning languages with a special focus on the English language may override the rising interest in the ‘multiple expressions’ in the world Englishes paradigm. Korea. Main areas of teaching/scholarship and their rankings Main area Curriculum design Discourse analysis English for special purposes Grammar Instructional materials development Language policies Methodology Psycholinguistics Sociolinguistics Testing and evaluation Others (please specify) Responses (3) 85 102 138 78 122 39 128 44 105 68 7 (no specifications) 333 Overall ranking 1 3 2 in Indonesia) was established in Yogjakarta in 1970 and is the leading Indonesian association of teachers of English as a foreign language having held 51 international and local conferences.Current research on Englishes in Southeast Asia Table 4. having had Asian board members. this trend explicates clearly the preoccupations of ‘the multiple expressions of identity’ in the world Englishes paradigm. disseminate information. and presidents serving two-year terms from China. ASIALEX. I have in my research described the phenomenon of ‘ascendant English-knowing bilingual communities’ in Outer Circle countries and suggested that discourses on English as a ‘glocal language’ (Pakir 2003) could be an apt response in order to counterbalance the discourses on English as a global language.
Hashim explores the interaction of verbal and visual components of persuasion in print advertisements in Malaysia. to derive authority from an ‘International’ or ‘Standard’ English. CONCLUSION The special issue is to be applauded for moving off from the major concerns in most of Southeast Asia largely anchored in the topic of English: its features. while at the same time asserting a local perspective through the inclusion of localized features. and British English. these papers explore the development and social functions of local. Lim and Low. Low. Hashim. and norm-developing societies. especially in the metropolitan areas. and Schaetzel. and glocal language forms in the region. Schaetzel.334 Anne Pakir countries of Malaysia. global. Deterding analyses norms for pronunciation that are currently emerging in southeast Asia. in determining their individual destinies has been the inadvertent rush by these countries into a ‘modern’ existence and a bowing to the pressures of globalization and its tandem language. Singapore and Brunei have lived. Dayag reports the results of a study of English-language Philippine newspaper headlines. C 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . and creative pedagogical dimensions. and interpretation teaching and testing. This special issue features papers by Alsagoff. English. acquisition. the Philippines. Her results hold interesting implications for our understanding of the Three Circles Model as it applies to norm-providing. Complicating their emerging nationhoods and need for policies (including language). culture and society. with many linguistic and ethnic traditions. and Low present the results of a survey of students in a features-based university course on Singapore English. finding a degree of stabilization and the recognition of the local variety. and try to give insights into the processes related to the universal and visible presence of English within English-knowing Southeast Asian contexts. Chinese English. Having the status of former colonies. and have always been made acutely aware of the cultural politics of language. While the current researchers in this special issue paint a picture of the increasing use of English as a lingua franca in Southeast Asia. All of these studies take into consideration several aspects of language. they grapple in their own ways with the legacy (to some) and the curse (to others) of the English language left behind by colonialists. translation. O’HaraDavies. From the collection of papers in this special issue. drawing on current sociolinguistic methodology as well as sensitive cultural interpretation to extend our understanding of Southeast Asian language ecologies. Alsagoff examines models of Singapore English and demonstrates the explanatory advantages of a model that takes account of the cultural identities negotiated by Singaporeans. we have strands that indicate a veering towards distinctive features. assessment. Taken as a group. O’Hara-Davies reports on the grammaticality and lexicality judgements of Brunei English speakers. discourse features. normdependent. sociolinguistic dimensions. Deterding. which topicalize and assign agency to the Philippine government in the reports concerning a hostage drama in 2004. delving into the contexts of Englishknowing bilingualism in highly-ascendant English-knowing bilingual communities. Lim. and while there is the predicted rise of ascendant English-knowing bilingual communities within Southeast Asia. ideological dimensions. comfortably or uncomfortably. Low measures successive vowel durations to compare the rhythm patterns of Singapore English. learning. Dayag. Speakers combine features associated with standardized or localized forms of Singapore English to position their speech acts with global and local perspectives simultaneously (for example.
In Corazon D. Pakir. Anne (1999) Bilingual education with English as an official language: socio-cultural implications. In S. (1984) World Englishes and the teaching of English to non-native speakers. Pakir. Continuities.html. Braj B. Anne (2003) Which English? The nativization of English and the negotiations of language choice in Southeast Asia. In James Alatis (Ed. Retrieved 20 May from http://www.Current research on Englishes in Southeast Asia 335 there will always be the research focus on issues of ESL/EFL learning. Ho Wah Kam and Vanitha Saravanan (eds. Functions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bolton. 63–84). Jurilla (eds. Directory of English Language Scholars and Researchers in the SEAMEO Countries. A. on the supra features of genre and discourse. Kachru. Kachru (eds.cfm. DC: Georgetown University Press. Anne (2001) The voices of English-knowing bilinguals and the emergence of new epicenters. 73–84). Lily Rose R. Singapore: Times Academic Press. (1983) The Indianization of English. Retrieved from http://www. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Michael.). Pakir.).org. especially Kingsley Bolton and Margie Berns for the kind invitation to organize the Southeast Asian strand of papers on the multiple expressions of English and for their hospitality. 2nd edn.sg/directory/. Georgetown University Press. Braj B.sg/Library/ directoryofenglishlang. Tope and Patricia May B. Kachru. The Linguistic Sciences and Language Teaching. Pakir. The Other Tongue: English across Cultures (pp. (1985) Standards. and Models of Non-Native Englishes. Robert (1992) Linguistic Imperialism. In Braj B.) (2001) Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia. Henry (1991) The description and prescription of language. Halliday. Georgetown Roundtable of Linguistics Archive (pp. In Randolph Quirk & Henry G. Anne Pakir.georgetown. Klaus Stierstorfer and Kwok-Kan Tam (eds. Lowenberg. Retrieved 20 October 2006 from http: //digital. and debates. In R¨ udiger Ahrens. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Widdowson (eds. Ann Arbor.). 341–349). Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 1991. 11–30). Anglophone Cultures in Southeast Asia: Appropriations. New York: Routledge. Perhaps that is precisely why we find the offerings of this special issue − on the distinctive features of Southeast Asian Englishes and beyond. (1992) Spread of English and issues of intelligibility.).). C 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Bailey and Manfred G¨ orlach (eds. Margie (1990) Contexts of Competence: Social and Cultural Considerations in Communicative Language Teaching. Kingsley (2002) World Englishes: approaches. Language Society and Education in Singapore: Issues and Trends (pp. London: Longman. Contexts (pp. (1986) The Alchemy of English: The Spread. Pennycook. Oxford: Pergamon. Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia (pp. B. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Introduction. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author wishes to acknowledge the organizers of IAWE 2005.relc.edu/gurt/1999. departures and appropriations: postcolonial challenges to language development. Villareal. Alastair (1998) English and the Discourse of Colonialism.). SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. TESOL Newsletter 18. K. 95–106. Anne (1994) English in Singapore: the codification of competing norms. MI: University of Michigan Press. on domain analysis of English use. In Richard W. Smith. In Michael A. New York: Plenum Press. Ooi Vincent (ed. 25–26 Kachru. Alastair (2002) Ruptures. Widdowson. issues. English as a World Language (pp. contexts. In Vincent Ooi (ed. and sociolinguistic realism: the English language in the outer circle. Pennycook. Peter (1993) Issues of validity in tests of English as world language: Whose standards? World Englishes 12(1). 1–11). Kachru. 353–83). Urbana: University of Illinois Press. (1964) Comparison and translation. codification. Phillipson. English in the World (pp.). Braj (1982) South Asian English. David Parker. as well as the paper presenters on the panel which formed the first seeds for the idea of a special symposium focusing on English in Southeast Asia. Braj. Braj. Gopinathan. and concerns. particularly energizing.). K. Alistair (1994) The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language. Larry E. Quezon City: University of the Philippines. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kachru. Linguistics and Language Pedagogy: The State of the Art. attitudes.org. Washington. 75–90). London: Longman. Ruptures and Departures: Language and Culture in Southeast Asia.relc. Pennycook. Halliday. Heidelberg: Universit¨ atsverslag. Angus McIntosh and Peter Strevens. B. REFERENCES Berns.
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