‘He speaks English without any accent!’ ‘She speaks English perfectly, like a native speaker!’ Such remarks can often be heard when people comment on others’ English. Many people learning English as a foreign language seem to believe that all native English speakers speak a standardized model of English, and ‘the Queen’s English’ is often regarded as a ‘perfect’ model to be worshipped and imitated; any deviation from such a ‘perfect’ model would be regarded as inferior, and learners often feel ashamed of their own English accents. However, in this globalized world, we must realize that English is no longer British owned. It has spread all over the world, and there are now many different varieties of English, such as British English, American English, Australian English, Singaporean English, and even Hong Kong English. All these different varieties serve as effective communication systems in different settings, and it is thus inappropriate to believe that we should all aim at studying one particular variety, such as ‘the Queen’s English’. In fact, less than 3% of the people in the UK speak ‘the Queen’s English’, and there are many different varieties of English in Britain itself. In this talk, I will first introduce the concept of World Englishes, and then give a detailed analysis of how varieties of English within the same country and across different countries differ in terms of pronunciation, spelling and grammar. At the end, I will discuss how we should face different varieties of English when learning English as a foreign language, and avoid discrimination against certain varieties.
|Publication status||Published - 2016|