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World Englishes, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 404–416, 2012.



Intelligibility in World Englishes: Theory and Application. C.L. Nelson New York and
London: Routledge, 2011, xiii + 134pp.

English is used in a variety of contexts worldwide. Individuals have different reasons for
learning English, and teachers from a range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds find
themselves teaching English in increasingly diverse contexts. Regardless of the context,
however, the ultimate aim of any interaction in English is successful communication.
Teachers of English, in any given context, therefore need an understanding of how to
develop their learners’ ability to communicate successfully with a range of people in a
variety of contexts relevant to the learners themselves. This book provides an important
starting point for this understanding by presenting a theoretical framework for intelligibility,
a construct considered by the author to be the “central criterion for effective language use”
(p. 46). The author presents this framework – the Smith framework – as a useful way to
conceptualize written or spoken intelligibility in the context of world Englishes.
Ch. 1 (pp. 1–27) provides the reader with background information about the complex
nature of intelligibility in the context of world Englishes and gives the reader an appreciation of the potential difficulties facing anyone who teaches English in different situations
around the world. The Smith framework is introduced as a way of studying the compatibility of different Englishes and establishing priorities for teaching and learning them in
different contexts. It is then explained further in ch. 2 (pp. 28–47). The Smith framework
conceptualizes language use as involving three levels of increasing complexity: intelligibility, comprehensibility and interpretability. Intelligibility refers to the recognition of words
and utterances we hear or see; comprehensibility to the understanding of the meaning of
those words and utterances; and interpretability to the recognition of their intent or purpose.
The combination of these components is seen to result in successful communication. Each
level is seen as important in its own right, but failure in one may not necessarily result in
communication breakdown.
Ch. 3 (pp. 48–68) provides the reader with insight into the changing nature and hybridity of world Englishes and the implications for intelligibility, and ch. 4 (pp. 69–80)
reviews terms and frameworks used by other researchers in the field and considers how
they compare to the Smith framework terminology. The final two chapters focus on the
implications for teaching (ch. 5, pp. 81–97) and future research (ch. 6, pp. 98–111). Topics
for discussion and assignments as well as suggestions for further reading are included at
the end of each chapter.
The author indicates that the book is for students (graduate and advanced undergraduate)
and investigators of world Englishes, as well as English teachers and teacher educators. It
certainly does provide this audience with important information about the complex nature
∗ Department of Linguistics, 5th Floor, Building C5A Room 508, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia. E-mail: 

C 2012

Blackwell Publishing Ltd

5. As pointed out by the author in ch.Reviews 405 of English use. an earlier version of this framework (see Smith and Nelson 1985) was instrumental in facilitating my understanding of research in the area by enabling me to understand what different researchers were investigating and measuring regardless of the terms they used. 4. 2009 for an overview). the practical implications in many situations are yet to be determined. Although the author demonstrates the usefulness of the Smith framework at a theoretical level. what might seem like a straightforward distinction in theory may be difficult to measure in practice. and different terms such as intelligibility. and tends to focus on what not to do as a teacher. The importance of such a framework is particularly evident when reading and interpreting research related to intelligibility. This book also provides a starting point for the enormous amount of research that is needed to understand the complexity of intelligibility in the context of world Englishes. and also explores a useful framework in which to consider the different components of effective language use. Thus. he uses the same term for both. there is as yet little research to guide him as to what is appropriate to teach in this situation. researchers might find it difficult to measure intelligibility as separate from comprehensibility because listeners will use what is a natural process of listening and refer to the meaning and context of an utterance to identify difficult words within it. 83) might understand that British English is not an appropriate model to teach his students because not only is it irrelevant for them in their particular context. which potentially involves components similar to those involved in the concept of intelligibility-in-general discussed by the present author.  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Although he discusses the difference between intelligibility-in-general and intelligibility as a component of intelligibility-in-general. There is also a need for further research on how this theoretical framework relates to practical guidelines as to how teachers in different contexts might work with their learners to improve their intelligibility in ways that are relevant to their situation. rather than on practical advice on what might be advantageous to their particular learners. Ch. because of the highly interdependent nature of the different components of the Smith framework. have been used interchangeably by researchers in the field. but it is a model that he himself does not use freely outside of the classroom. and I found myself confused at times as to which he was referring to. whether we are considering a pedagogical issue or sociolinguistic profiling of interactions between particular individuals or groups. Thus. the author of the present book uses the term intelligibility in two different ways throughout the book. Derwing and Munro define comprehensibility as the listener’s perception of how easy or difficult a speaker is to understand. 5 (p. 4. whatever the circumstances might be. For example. However. which is described by the author in the preface as having a “focus on guiding learners in achieving intelligibility across varieties” covers the area in very general terms only. learning and teaching in the context of world Englishes. Interestingly. Another area of research that warrants investigation is how the Smith framework contributes to our understanding of the dimension of comprehensibility used by Derwing and Munro (see Derwing and Munro. From a personal point of view. The author also provides examples to demonstrate the usefulness of a framework in categorizing different aspects of language use. despite his criticism of other researchers’ use of terms in ch. and understanding. however. the teacher in the Nigerian school given as an example in ch. comprehensibility. It also provided me with an understanding of what it was that I wanted to investigate and how I might go about doing so. intelligibility has been defined in a range of different ways in the literature.

curriculum design and assessment. “National case studies”. As stated in the introduction by the editors (p. Smith. and language choices in multilingual societies. Purdue University. its aim of “providing a forum for discussion and debate on the process of policy design and implementation” (p. However. ∗ Department  C 2012 of English. IN 47907. E-mail: chang73@purdue. J. World Englishes 4. experiments. L. In the introduction the three co-editors of the book present a general overview of the conference. Larry E. (Received 30 February 2012) Young Learner English Language Policy and Implementation: International Perspectives. the purpose of this book is to provide guidance to decision-makers at governmental ministry levels who plan to implement an early start in teaching English to young learners. written by Barbara Hewitt of the British Council. Murray. (1985) International intelligibility of English: Directions and resources. i + 248 pp. and Nelson.. The myth “the earlier the better”.edu Blackwell Publishing Ltd . and had as its theme “The way forward: Learning from international experience of TEYL (Teaching English to Young Learners)”. Edited by Janet Enever. 1). The foreword (p. the book raises important issues related to intelligibility in the context of world Englishes and provides an excellent knowledge base and starting point for important research to enhance our understanding of this complex topic. discuss the challenges and changes experienced in the context of English teaching curricula in primary schools around the world. and Munro. 1 two of the editors. 476–90. This book is organized into three main parts: “Keynote talks”. REFERENCES Derwing. Tracy M. such as teaching English in primary schools in spite of the absence of trained English teachers or adequate resources. The conference was organized by the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) Young Learners Special Interest Group and the British Council. Jayne Moon and Uma Raman. Language Teaching 42. Reading: Garnet Publishing Ltd. The issues. and “Innovations. 2009. Cecil. USA. Reviewed by SHIH-YU CHANG∗ The fact that English learning has penetrated deeply into primary school education is neither surprising nor new.406 Reviews Some readers may object to the dogmatic manner in which the author expresses his views at times. 3). Janet Enever and Jayne Moon. The introduction of English education early in the curriculum has become a trend if not a competition between countries where English is not spoken as a first language.. identifies the purpose of the book as to serve as an essential reading for those who want to introduce early foreign language teaching effectively. are addressed in the following papers that constitute the proceedings. projects”. and consequently he may not effectively reach the very audience he is trying to influence. and some peculiar phenomena generated from it. and the two main foci of national case studies and innovational projects. such as challenges of policy implementation. are addressed in this book.. its organization. India in January 2008. (2009) Putting accent in its place: Rethinking obstacles to communication. West Lafayette. In ch. Young Learner English Language Policy and Implementation: International Perspectives is a selection of conference papers presented in Bangalore. 333–42. 3).

17–28). suggests that an early start may not be effective if certain conditions are not met. researchers based in Europe (ch. Chs. how early young learners should begin learning English is always a controversial issue and probably the first matter of discussion for policy makers. The chapter on Turkey (ch. communicative language teaching) to local contexts. such as innovative curricula. Italy. 19) provides equal access to underprivileged children. teaching techniques. Section C. 16) investigate early language learning in Croatia. Taiwan and Japan as examples to address several issues. India (ch. However. With the focus on listening to music and storytelling. and the adaptation of popular English Language Teaching (ELT) methods (e. Richard Johnstone’s chapter (ch. 2–4). England.14). whereas Londrina. both chs. teachers’ professional development.  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . as well as the use of technology.g. In Oman (ch. 5) introduced a new educational policy of teaching English beginning in Grade 1. 17). Brazil (ch. On the other hand. 4) then briefly summarizes the role English plays when it is taught to young learners. Maharashra. Israel (ch. as it is important for researchers and educators to review the current state of TEYL. S. 9 and 11 provide a general overview of English teaching at the primary level in India and Korea. 5–16). Multiple intelligences (MI). In 2000. In Ch. 2) uses English language teaching practices in primary schools of Korea. Orissa and Delhi. Chs. Spain. 10 argues that early bilingual education in Cameroon has been developed more from an educational point of view than as a social-political choice. 12 and 15 include comprehensive evaluations of ELT in primary school in Iceland and China. whereas in Karnataka. An innovative project of Buenos Aires. When discussing the topic of TEYL. 7) provides suggestions for improvements needed in the future based on the achievements of students. Englishspeaking teachers versus local teachers. a widely used theory in education. Poland. first Yoko Goto Butler (ch. including children’s equal access to English education. Argentina (ch. projects” (chs. the Netherlands. 21 and 26 demonstrate the integration of MI into ELT in Spain and India. 27 goes further to investigate the efficiency and efficacy of a nationwide curriculum innovation in China. The Hungarian experiences remind us that it is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching English to primary school students. and Sweden. 3) discusses the key “conditions” for achieving “generalized success” of implementing English Language Learning (ELL) in primary schools. Besides curricular innovations. The case of Bangladesh (ch. In contrast to Section B and its view of TEYL more from a global perspective. 24) has implemented a project to reach out to the local community and build communication between Arabs and Jews. the Integrated Curriculum project aims to develop both children’s Arabic and English literacy skills. are specifically profiled to illustrate how the goals of TEYL are achieved and whether school children have equal access to English learning in India. is applied to teaching L2. experiments.Reviews 407 In the “Keynote talks” section (chs. two Indian states. In the section “National case studies” (chs. based on its own experiences with TEYL. the situations of TEYL in different nations are presented. 20) the issue of community aspirations is taken into account. examines local issues. “Innovations. India (ch. It is certain that different starting ages have created different challenges for educators. 13. N. ch. 6) integrates English learning starting from Grade 4. Likewise. does starting early really have a beneficial effect on learning English? Hungary (ch. Prabhu (ch. 8) addresses how teaching English is concerned in education reforms. Similarly. teaching techniques cannot be omitted. Ch.

For Europe. the volume does face the challenge that conference proceedings often face. not only does this book cover a wide range of issues related to TEYL. for a large number of people who learn English from a very young age are about to become or will soon be a world Englishes user and partake in the evolution of Englishes. 2010. Lastly. Kachru and Nelson 2005. Young Learner English Language Policy and Implementation: International Perspectives can be stimulating to World Englishes researchers and students who are interested in policy making and curriculum and instruction in primary schools. In addition. Deterding and Kirkpatrick 2006. IPS Complex. (Received 17 February 2012) English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN: A Multilingual Model. Prescott 2007). some of the chapters do not provide enough depth to offer a clear picture of what is being described. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. as there is not much discussion in the field of world Englishes about TEYL. The book in general meets its goal in that it is an essential reading for decision-makers at governmental ministry level who plan to implement an early start in teaching English to young learners. this book may attract world Englishes researchers and student scholars who are intrigued by English teaching and learning in primary schools and at the same time are pondering the role of world Englishes in primary education. However.408 Reviews Teacher training is another crucial subject to be considered. xiv + 222 pp. E-mail: azirahh@um. South America. Kuala Lumpur. The chapters included in the book provide an insiders’ point of view on the current state of TEYL in different countries. The chapters serve as a starting point for reviewing the role of English teaching and learning in primary education  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . the use of technology is addressed. it is a good source for researchers who are concerned with the sociolinguistic profiles of different countries. University of Malaya 50603. this book can be used as a supplement for teacher training programmes preparing teachers who are interested in teaching English overseas and to help these teachers understand the policies of English teaching and learning in a country. Reviewed by AZIRAH HASHIM∗ While there have been many important publications on English in Asia (e. Lastly. Asian Englishes Today. 23) have created a project to help teachers’ professional development. Bolton 2003. As illustrated above. Second.g. but it also examines these issues from a global perspective. Ch. this book can be an interesting read in several ways. Malaysia. Ch. Africa and the Middle East. 18) and Nigeria (ch. It aims to cover a wide range of issues and a number of countries. as most primary school teachers may not have the ability to teach English. Kachru 2004. 22 investigates Turkish English teachers’ instructional practices and perceptions of the implementation of the “communicative-oriented curriculum”. but at some point. there has not been a book that provides a comprehensive coverage of the topic English as ∗ Humanities & Ethics Research Cluster. the volume is a window into deliberating the issues that world Englishes may face in the future. All in all. Both Taiwan (ch. In relation to world Englishes research and scholars. 28 investigates the uses of CD-ROMs in teaching English in Malaysian Primary schools. Andy Kirkpatrick. including English teaching in twenty-three countries located in Asia.

the role and development of English. with the current government of each country adopting policies that would ensure their citizens become proficient in English. Ch. which comprises 10 countries) and addresses language education issues as well. The survey of ASEAN is well written and informative. 2 (pp. The study shows that there are only a few occasions when the use of distinctive phonological features led to a breakdown in communication. especially. and the national languages in each of the ten member countries. an equitable balance would be struck between English and other languages. The European Union with its 23 official languages is referred to to show the contrast between the official EU and ASEAN policies. developments in the education system privilege the position of English. 19–42) provides a historical description of the four countries in ASEAN that were colonies of English speaking powers – Brunei. it is stated that a team comprising the author and researchers from ASEAN are collecting data on varieties of English. Laos and Vietnam. 1 (pp. 3 (pp. However. Andy Kirkpatrick goes beyond the mere coverage of all ASEAN countries and develops a multilingual model which is worth discussing in the context of education. It is interesting to note that the author found that distinctive lexis often used in individual varieties of  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . especially Burma. giving an overview of the language attitudes in the region. they appear to be less controversial than those in Malaysia and Singapore. Part II (chs. Malaysia’s shifting language education policy as well as the major milestones in that policy development are discussed and contrasted with Singapore’s. including the choice of Tagalog as the national language and the debate surrounding this. second. the Philippines and Singapore – and draws useful comparisons on the different roles of English in these countries. is also discussed. The author raises concerns about how. the informants are of different English proficiency and those speakers that are “too proficient” were not excluded because these are speakers in ASEAN who have English as their primary language. and the data used in the book comes mainly from highly proficient users of English. are highly realistic. 43–64) treats those countries in ASEAN that did not have a British colonial past – Cambodia. Ch. 4 (pp. Malaysia. The author’s comments about English teaching in these countries. Cambodia. This is followed by a more detailed review of language education policies in the Philippines. In Cambodia. He inserts two caveats: first. 3–18) “The origins of ASEAN and the role of English” provides a summary of the formation of ASEAN and useful background information. 4–5) of the book is devoted to linguistic features of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in ASEAN. The relationship between English and other languages. Ch.Reviews 409 a Lingua Franca in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Ch. Laos and Vietnam. Brunei’s language policies are briefly discussed. Thailand and Vietnam – and focuses on the very different types of English language education in these countries. Indonesia. Part 1 with its three chapters profiles the origins of ASEAN. especially on the role of English. from the informal and colloquial basilectal to the formal acrolectal. the relative frequency of the features used in the context of ELF throughout ASEAN is not known. The preface outlines the structure of the book and raises issues such as balancing need for English with need to promote national languages and preserving local languages. Laos. This appears to be a limitation in the analysis. The author begins with a useful introduction which gives some background on ELF and examples of previous work. 73–93) provides a selection of the phonological and lexical features of ASEAN speakers of English. The book is divided into three main parts and eight chapters. including Putonghua.

95–122) discusses grammar. From features. It begins with an insightful discussion of the highly debated topic in the region of when English should be introduced into the school curriculum and used as a medium of instruction (MOI). consists of two chapters.  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . who are to use English as a medium of communication with other multilinguals for whom English is the second or foreign language and as a sole working and official language of ASEAN. He illustrates through past studies that the choices made with regard to language education policy have produced negative results in many instances. It begins with evidence of grammatical variation in dialects of British English. increasing inequality and increasing dominance of English. Ch. A section on discourse and pragmatic norms is also offered. He highlights the needs of the ASEAN learners. He is against the privileging of English at the expense of local languages and national languages and the teaching of Maths and Science in English as is practised in some ASEAN countries. The third part of the book. the book moves on to examining communicative strategies of ASEAN ELF. This shows an obvious difference between ELF and the various varieties of English in the region. Strategies that are unique to ASEAN ELF are listed in a table with strategy types for listeners and for speakers. in contrast. He shows that cognitivist second language acquisition (SLA) research remains the mainstream perspective often adopted by ministries of education in ASEAN. Adopting the perspective of a social SLA would help in syllabus design and adopting a multilingual model would involve making the linguistic benchmarks that of the speech of ASEAN multilinguals who are able to use English successfully in ELF situations. The author’s analyses and discussions as well as his suggestions for policy and pedagogy provide an excellent depiction of the practices and needs of the ASEAN region. The last chapter. such as increasing failure and drop-out rates. the linguistic demands on the child and the privileging of English at the expense of local languages. discourse and pragmatics of ELF. The author very clearly argues his position on this long running debate by highlighting the shortage of teachers proficient in English. The second half of the chapter goes on to describe non-standard features of ASEAN ELF. Finally. the author uses earlier studies and findings to support his view that children need to attain a certain level of proficiency before they can use the language as a MOI. addresses the question of what English should be taught. he gives an overview of the language education policy model in Hong Kong which involves similar issues to those in ASEAN countries and exemplifies a clear bilingual method. ch. He brings up three myths of language education and dispels each of them convincingly. “Implications for policy and pedagogy”. The author illustrates from his examples how difficult it is to make reliable judgements about the linguistic causes of non-standard forms and that speakers who may use non-standard forms in one context may use standard forms in another. urges a shift towards social SLA whereby context within ASEAN is crucial. 8 (pp. This is timely with the debate about diversity of the English language and which model teachers should use. indicating that grammatical variation is common even in a traditional variety of English. Variation in ELF data is explained as natural language development. 5 (pp.410 Reviews English is absent from the ELF data. On whether English should be introduced as a subject or as a MOI. Kirkpatrick. one on implications for language education policy and another on the pedagogical implications and recommendations for language education policy and practice in ASEAN. who should teach it and what should be taught through English using what materials. 169–89) “Pedagogical implications: The multilingual model and the lingua franca approach”.

David (ed. (Received 27 February 2012) Dreams and Realities: Developing Countries and the English Language.4 billion (data for 2005) of these people live in conditions of extreme poverty.25 per day (The World Bank 2011). this volume is a valuable resource which sheds much needed light upon the role. As such. the volume stands in stark contrast to Skutnabb-Kangas and Phillipson (1994) with its focus on linguistic imperialism and the hegemony of English. Braj B. 391–410. ∗ Reviewed by CHRISTIANE MEIERKORD Approximately 5. world Englishes and English as an International Language. It is useful for education policy planners in the ASEAN region and complements the works that have been produced by scholars in Europe on ELF in that region. 7). World Englishes 25. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. ELF. London: The British Council.5 billion people of the world’s population live in what are called developing countries. Yamuna. addresses old but still timely questions: Is English of benefit to developing countries? Does it help countries develop. David. (2005) Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon. 150. and. Edited by Hywel Coleman. Following Coleman’s introductory chapter. particularly development studies. is making good progress to explain how these conditions may be alleviated.) (2007) English in Southeast Asia. 28). thus setting the scene for a volume that overwhelmingly emphasizes the positive effects of teaching and using English in developing contexts. In the first section. 2. pp. meierkord@rub. While research in many disciplines. For Kennedy (ch. Literacies and Literature. Prescott. Deterding. “Policy planning and implementation”. if so. 27–40). Andy (2006) Emerging South-east Asian Englishes and intelligibility. 386 pp. Kachru. the book is organized into five sections and an appendix. Kachru. defined by the World Bank as having an income below $ 1. pp. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. editor and British Council’s Head of English Language Innovation Michael Carrier finds that “[g]overnments recognise the importance of English to their economies and societies and to the fulfilment of the personal aspirations of their citizens. one of the factors which is far from being understood is the link between development and the mastery of (international) languages. Germany. being a volume published by the British Council. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. for which it is first necessary ∗ Department of English. 44801 Bochum. which consists of a list of countries with low and medium development as well as a list of key development indicators. 7–8). Dreams and Realities. understanding its capacity to empower and support development” (p. 2011. applied  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .Reviews 411 As a reference book for students and researchers interested in sociolinguistics. E-mail: christiane. REFERENCES Bolton. Ruhr-University Bochum. Cecil (2006) World Englishes in Asian Contexts. four papers discuss the problems governments face when introducing appropriate language policies and putting these into practice. and Kirkpatrick. language policy should develop communicative competence for “an equitable sharing of resources and a distribution of socio-political and economic power and influence” (p. and Nelson. and 1. Universit¨ atsstr. how? In his foreword (pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kingsley (2003) Chinese Englishes: A Sociolinguistic History. functions and features of English in ASEAN.

They are also important for those skilled and qualified Ethiopians who live in the diaspora and send remittances home. 9. Tembe and Norton (ch. on the other hand. 165–87) explains that. with many of them not aiming at the international job market. pp. 41–57) discusses the practice of using a foreign language as medium of instruction (MOI). on the one hand. based on the Indonesian context. these schools teach in English and cater for a demand in the upper middle class. pp. 4. pp. on the other hand. English is regarded as facilitating international workers’ mobility and access to professional employment in Uganda. 3. in Ethiopia. 6. However. 191–211) warns. often giving preference to Spanish or German instead. which for her contributes to the lack of development in many countries. Invoking globalization as a rationale. 5. and English in India’s education sector. pp. 8. Pakistan. more substantive efforts are necessary to disseminate research results as regards the benefits of first language education.412 Reviews to identify peoples’ needs and wants before examining the role that language(s) should play to meet those needs. The limitations of such practices are also visible from Coleman’s discussion (ch. who are all preparing for immigration to the UK. are largely neglected in the government’s language planning. Lamb (ch. typically the members of poor urban and especially rural groups” (p. Hindi. to successfully serve as a lingua franca joining Africans and Asians. 183). Apparently. Meganathan’s (ch. English language skills are mandatory for African farmers to negotiate with Western and Asian markets. 59–87) careful analyses of data obtained from all Indian states reveal that India’s citizens’ belief in a positively transformative power of English hinders the implementation of a promising three language policy advocating the teaching of a local language. In Cameroon. where teachers lack the necessary qualifications and materials. In the second part. pp. 141–63) studied were not convinced that English would be useful to find a job. The 70 Francophone science-oriented students Focho (ch. 89–113) of Indonesia’s introduction of “International Standard Schools” in 2006. as it may create “a division between. However. In contrast. research carried out in rural Butaleja and urban Torore shows that parents and stakeholders prefer Luganda as a language of reading and writing in the rural district and English in Torore. that middle class advantages as regards school experiences may lead to a widening divide between them and children from more modest backgrounds. those who have good access to it. those who do not. English is the most widely offered language despite the low quality of English language education. Indonesia’s migrant workers. The next section discusses the role of English in “Social and geographic mobility”. typically members of the reasonably well off urban groups. who require language teaching to succeed in their jobs as domestic servants abroad and who contribute to Indonesia’s welfare through remitting large amounts of money.g. The following three papers reveal how difficult this is. 213– 34) of four English students in Mirpur. reveals that remittance money is again a major motivation for this type of  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . while normal schools teach in Bahasa Indonesia. As even the link between education and development is doubtful (e. three papers indicate how divergent “Perceptions of English” are in Africa. Negash (ch. and. francophone students in rural areas mostly lack an extrinsic motivation to learn English. 7. does not positively correlate with child survival). English needs to be more appropriately taught. particularly in rural contexts. she finds that English risks becoming a factor of national division rather than unity. 46). Capstick’s ethnographic study (ch. 10. pp. pp. pp. based on solid research “on Africans’ perceptions of the value of English. so that the debate on language planning can move beyond the whim of the elites” (p. which advocates the use of local languages as MOI to increase literacy rates. Thus. 117–39) discuss Uganda’s language policy. However. Williams (ch.

Seargeant and Erling (ch. as Hailemariam. 12. The final two contributions deal with English courses for “English in fragile contexts”. pp. Journal of Development Studies 45. Although there exists “an insatiable desire to learn English” (p. providing readers with conceptual discussions as well as empirical research. where peacekeeping forces are present.Reviews 413 work migration. The papers remain very much within the field of TESOL. Latin America and to the Gulf region? REFERENCES Deumert. 235–51) explain. stresses the need to overcome clich´es such as “English is the passport to success and upward social mobility” and to define clearly what is meant by development. 412–40. South Africa. sociolinguists and researchers in the world Englishes field to whom it offers an introduction to the many facets of the relationship between language(s) and development. three papers deal with aspects of “Developing English in development contexts” from a conceptual angle. focusing on Pakistan. on the other hand. Besides teaching English. he recommends the development of bilingual programmes to overcome the “state of language apartheid between English medium and Urdu medium education” in the country (p. these courses implicitly convey Western values. 13. Nkululeko (2009) I-dollar eyi one! Ethnolinguistic fractionalization. 14. 301) in Pakistan. communication networks and economic participation – lessons from Cape Town. English does not fulfil clearly assigned instrumental functions to secure jobs. 310). pp. and to promote a type of English that suits the communities. Next. The book is a very valuable resource for applied linguists. it alerts readers to the fact that the relation between language(s) and development is still poorly understood due to a lack of rigorous research. Apparently. Ideologically. the positive effects of which are by far not clear. Ogbay and White (ch. The book would also have benefitted from a comparison of the impact of English and that made by other languages as regards development. German or Spanish have in light of the fact that many individuals migrate to German-speaking countries. going beyond mere economic gain. and which language best benefits individuals in developing nations. Wedell (ch. In Eritrea. 297–315). At the same time. the book here comes full circle to the introduction in that English is again taken to serve as a carrier for positive values that are deemed necessary for peacekeeping in fragile contexts. His interviews indicate that both male and female migrants are ill prepared to succeed at the official English language tests and the communicative requirements that constrain society and community engagement in the ‘host’ country. 255–74) emphasize the need for policy statements to fully acknowledge the complexity of the link between English and development. pp. English is also not associated with political power and students do not study abroad.  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Shamim (ch. here in Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For example. the lingua franca in Eritrea. 11. 275–96) explains that different plans are often necessary to address the diverse needs faced in different regions and school types of individual developing countries. Describing a project in Bangladesh. Ana. and Mabandla. only seven out of the 19 authors originate from the countries discussed. and that university departments need to better co-operate to prepare future teachers appropriately. leading to male labour migration and subsequent marriage migration. what impact do Arabic. does. unfortunately often neglecting development studies (see Deumert and Mabandla 2009 for an integrative view). which Tigrinya. pp. there is a huge need to empower more local researchers to contribute to the discussion – in the present volume.

and explores the roles of language and nationalism in the modern nation-state. and may even facilitate the stigmatization of localized varieties of English: ∗ Department of English. Saraceni notes that the WE paradigm shift has largely taken place within certain fields of academia. but that the move to decentralize the “English language” has achieved only limited success elsewhere (pp. Washington. Ch. in this chapter. In ch. through a catenated discussion of the semiotics of WE. edu. drew part of its ideological position from postcolonial literary discourse. The seventh (ch. E-mail: kingsley. 53). Mario Saraceni. at the same time. which serves to illustrate the theoretical perspectives rehearsed in the other chapters of the book. The World Bank (2011). In turn. This book comprises seven chapters. In ch. purist positions were expressed in a rhetoric which contained echoes of the imperialist narrative on language and culture. and reviews such key issues as the Kachru-Quirk debates from 1985 to 1991. Ch. 1 (“English in the world”). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. and the way in which language codification has formed part of the national project in so many societies over the last 200 years. 3 (“World Englishes”) then evaluates the WE paradigm from both a sympathetic and critical perspective. Kowloon Tong. Robert (1994).org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators (Received 27 February 2012) The Relocation of English: Shifting Paradigms in a Global Era. and is recommended to everyone interested in the development of WE as a subfield of English studies and linguistics. and  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Hong Kong. 53) comments that: WE discourse developed as a response to purist stances about varieties of English and. and Phillipson. World Development Indicators. Saraceni (p. as well as the influence of postcolonial theory on the WE paradigm.414 Reviews Skutnabb-Kangas. He then claims that “the collocation of the WE paradigm with postcolonial literary discourse presents a conceptual conundrum”. City University of Hong Kong. Tove. Saraceni argues for a reconceptualization of WE in terms of “English in the World” (EIW). Finally. Throughout this chapter. Linguistic Human Rights: Overcoming Linguistic Discrimination. 6) is essentially a case-study analysis of Malaysia. 4 (“The contradiction of plurality”). 2 (“Language and nation building”) focuses on the historical dimension. Saraceni expands on this last point. 2010. while the postcolonial language debate was centred upon clear anti-imperialist concerns in the uneasy decision to adopt and alter the English language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.bolton@cityu. Reviewed by KINGSLEY BOLTON∗ This is an innovative and thought-provoking monograph from an author who has been active in the fields of sociolinguistics and world Englishes (WE) in Asia as well as the UK for a number of years. and that “the anti-imperialist drive founded on the idea of a plurality of Englishes is inherently contradictory as it is based on a fundamentally Eurocentric view of the world” (p.worldbank. suggesting that a features-based approach to varieties of English often undermines a number of the key aspirations of the WE approach. visual signs. xiv + 156 pp. six of which are concerned with theoretical aspects of WE. verbal signs. data. DC: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 6–7). The volume makes an interesting and timely contribution to the theory of WE.

not least.] The relocation culminates when English ceases to be somebody else’s language. 7. where “widely different” definitions of the subject have been put forward. 5 (“English as a lingua franca”). . which is typically critical of local varieties of English. In the final chapter (ch. 99). as “emphasis on the linguistic aspects of EIW can not only restrict but also invalidate the whole notion of relocation”. Cumulatively. unsullied by features of bahasa rojak or “Manglish”. and. hence. Australasia and North America). and can truly and comfortably become one of the Self’s languages (p. Saraceni underscores the central arguments of the book. . his monograph makes an  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . where. “The relocation of English”). In ch. subsequently.] of defining ‘new’ varieties of English in terms of the degree to which they deviate from ‘old’ ones is not challenged or abandoned but embraced in WE discourse. In this context. 77). Saraceni describes a conflicting and paradoxical situation. where the ownership of English is relocated in concrete and real fashion: The relocation of English begins with the loosening of the knot that ties the English language to [. .Reviews 415 WE scholars regard variation as an integral part of the continuous evolution of language in different societies and posit that ‘new’ varieties of English should be treated as valid as the ‘old’ ones [. . . a view theoretically grounded in the WE tradition but recast in terms of a revised perspective. and the association of English with Inner Circle institutions is as strong as ever. Indeed. Saraceni then argues for a reconceptualization of “world Englishes” as “English in the World”. through an ethnographic study utilizing surveys of students.] BANA (Britain. First of all. . . he explores the sociolinguistics of English in this setting. despite a long history in the community. Whether or not Saraceni’s paradigm rethink will help to realize that ambition remains to be seen. In this way. contending that “the notion of relocation cannot be cultivated on the terrain of language form” (p.] The traditional practice mentioned [. for the Inner Circle and by the Inner Circle (p. 6 (“The location of English in Malaysia”). he argues. although he also notes that both English as a Lingua Franca and WE “can be seen as two terms denoting our laborious attempts to understand the unprecedented phenomenon of English in the world” (p. an approach to varieties based on linguistic features may have an unexpected consequence. various local cultures find new forms of expression through English and. . In turn. Saraceni presents a review of ELF literature that identifies a number of inconsistencies. Saraceni suggests. the “location” of English in the minds of Malaysians remains inextricably tied to Inner Circle countries. this gives rise to a phenomenon whereby. interviews. . their very existence. ‘non-native’ varieties of English need ‘native’ varieties in order to characterise their distinctiveness and. to the myth of a “pure English” spoken by “native speakers”. the physical spread of English in the world causes the re-rooting of the language. . and the analysis of newspaper discourse.] Within this model. Non-Inner-Circle varieties of English are described according to parameters that have been set in the Inner Circle. world Englishes are inescapably located in a subaltern position with respect to Anglo-American English. in terms of WE theory. few Malaysians feel able to claim a genuine ownership of English. But there is no doubt that. the scope of this phenomenon broadens beyond the confines of local settings and offers alternative views of the world to those emanating from the Anglophone West [. Despite the best efforts of WE advocates. in the first instance. 133). highlighting the contradiction between the “academic discourse narrative” that typically valorizes WE and the “public discourse narrative”. the very idea of distinct Englishes entails the presence of a reference point acting as a benchmark. or the language of the Other. 143). against which certain features are foregrounded and identified as distinctive. a position of constant comparison with the norm-providing Inner Circle [. In ch.

this volume is important because it encourages us to grapple with a number of difficult theoretical questions that influence our assumptions in formulating and conducting our research. Nevertheless. Elsewhere. I am not persuaded linguistically-oriented approaches have only a marginal role to play. (Received 6 March 2012)  C 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . drawn from the author’s research as well as his personal experience. although. has a potentially wide application at a number of levels. Similarly.416 Reviews important and valuable contribution to research in the field. well-written. including India and Hong Kong. as well as our teaching. and full of insights. and determined or influenced by the particular realities of such settings. but also in reminding us that our research and teaching in WE are always located in particular sociolinguistic contexts. For example. There is little doubt too that many of the paradoxes and problems he identifies do represent key theoretical issues in WE today. his contention that a narrow features-based approach to WE fails to capture the complex realities of English in Outer Circle and other societies is also well founded. conversely. While Saraceni’s monograph is positioned towards the socio-political/socio-cultural end of the spectrum. not only in relating to the “ownership” of English in particular societies. moreover. ranging from the overtly socio-political to the traditionally linguistic (as illustrated by the wide range of topics of this very journal). I would also argue for the value of other approaches (including those primarily concerned with linguistic systems) as well. I have argued that one of the major strengths of the WE approach to English worldwide is that it includes a diversity of perspectives. Saraceni’s book is thoughtful. the discussion of the disconnect between academic and lay discourse on localized varieties of English is directly relevant to a number of Asian societies. The issue of “location” here. It is strongly recommended to all those interested in the development of world Englishes as a field of research and pedagogy.