‘Standard English plus’: Toward a truly empowering English curriculum in English-L2 societies

Chor Shing David LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Using Standard English as the teaching model in English-L2 societies is the source of many learning difficulties. The standards should be broadened by examining salient lexico-grammatical deviations in learners’ English outputs to see if they could be incorporated into the local standards. Queries about the grammatical status of lexico-grammatical deviations are typically resolved by consulting dictionaries and/or grammar books, which are clearly biased against non-native learners. Teachers have no choice but to regard such deviations as ‘errors’. This is often ineffective, however, as many errors are resilient to learner uptake despite teachers’ repeated attempts at providing remedial feedback. Some lexico-grammatical deviations from existing standards should stop being labeled as errors and be accepted as variants in Standard English. For example: 1. writing ‘everyday’ for ‘every day’ 2. dangling modifier 3. to suggest / recommend someone to do something 4. to blame on / discuss about / emphasize on / stress on something 5. amount of [count noun] 6. S-V inversion in wh- subordinate clauses (e.g. “I don’t know what is your preference”) The pedagogical gain is obvious: (a) valuable class time is saved for more worthwhile teaching and learning goals; (b) NSs are made aware of NNSs’ stylistic preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009



Li, D. C. S. (2009, June). ‘Standard English plus’: Toward a truly empowering English curriculum in English-L2 societies. Paper presented at Third Pearl River Delta English Studies Graduate Student Conference (PRD), The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong.