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Asian Englishes

Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon

Braj B. Kachru
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Asian Englishes
    Book Description:

    This book provides crucial reading for students and researchers of world Englishes. It is an insightful and provocative study of the forms and functions of English in Asia, its acculturation and nativization, and the innovative dimensions of Asian creativity. It contextualizes a variety of theoretical, applied and ideological issues with refreshing interpretations and reevaluations and can be used both as a classroom text and a resource volume.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-010-4
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Series editor’s preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Kingsley Bolton
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Braj B. Kachru
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Phonetic symbols and transcription
    (pp. xxiii-xxiii)
  8. Map of Greater Asia
    (pp. xxiv-xxiv)
  9. 1 Introduction: Anglophone Asia
    (pp. 1-6)

    The volume, Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon, contextualizes selected dimensions of world Englishes in Asia’s Anglophone societies. The ten chapters that follow bring together various perspectives on functions, creativity, canonicity, attitudes and pedagogy.

    The term ‘Asian English’ warrants an explanation. This regional identification marker for the varieties of English used by the region’s Anglophone societies is understandably somewhat problematic. But, then, that is true of such other terms that designate regional boundaries such as ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘South Asia’, and ‘East Asia’. In their discussion of Pacific Rim, Lim, Smith and Dissanayake rightly refer to this dilemma:

    In the production of...

  10. Part I: Contexts

    • 2 Asian Englishes
      (pp. 9-28)

      The issues that I discuss in this chapter concern several aspects of the Asian presence of the English language, and are not restricted to methods and methodology. The concerns are about the constructs of the language that we use in a wide range of functional domains, about the ideologies, and the altered contexts that relate to the Asian reincarnations of the language. In other words, these issues relate to the Asian sociolinguistic, ideological and literary reinventions of the language. Actually, these issues go beyond English. One has to ask in what ways the Anglophone Asian contexts, whether linguistic, social, or...

    • 3 South Asian schizophrenia
      (pp. 29-72)

      The history of English in South Asia is one of prolonged heated debates and controversies. The controversy about the legacy of English and desirability of its continued location in language policies and its cultural associations is the major pastime of politicians, academics and the media. However, the political map of South Asia is completely altered now from the way it was when the English language was originally introduced to the subcontinent over two centuries ago. The profile of English in the subcontinent is also different from that in 1947 when the colonial period came to an end and the country...

    • 4 Past imperfect: The Japanese agony
      (pp. 73-96)

      This chapter primarily focuses on Japan, which holds a unique position in Asia, and provides important insights for understanding various methodological, attitudinal, and ideological issues about the functions of English and attitudes towards the language. In the East Asian region Japan has been one of the first countries to articulate positions about the acceptance of English and an identity with it, and about rejection of the language and proposing a distance with it. The case study of Japan and its ongoing sweet and sour relationship with the language has a lesson for us all. A large body of such writing...

  11. Part II: Convergence

    • 5 Englishization: Asia and beyond
      (pp. 99-120)

      The focus of this chapter is on one of the two Janus-like faces of language contact situations involving English and other languages termed ENGLISHIZATION. This is an aspect that has received considerable attention in recent years (e.g. see Viereck and Bald, 1986, for references). The other face is that of nativization earlier discussed in Chapters 2 and 3. In focusing on Englishization I shall argue that the paradigms of CONTACT LINGUISTICS must include SOCIOLINGUISTIC VARIABLES as integral to conceptualization and methodology. And, as asides, I shall make observations on some selected issues concerning language policies.

      Why focus on Englishization as...

    • 6 The absent voices
      (pp. 121-134)

      This chapter discusses English for Specific Purposes (hereafter ESP) primarily within the context of Anglophone Asia. In most studies on ESP, the focus is generally on the appropriateness of a language corpus: the formal organization of the corpus at various linguistic levels: phonetic, phonological (e.g. Flood and West, 1952); lexical (e.g. Anthony, 1976; Cowan, 1974; Flood, 1957); syntactic (e.g. Huddleston, 1971; Lackstrom et al., 1973) and discoursal (e.g. Widdowson, 1971); and the relationship between the formal features and the functions of the texts in terms of the profession and participants. The result of this earlier research has been the development...

  12. Part III: Mantras

    • 7 Medium and mantra
      (pp. 137-154)

      This chapter contextualizes Raja Rao’s Kanthapura, published in 1938, within what is now the canon of Indian English creativity. In fact, Rao’s Kanthapura provided a liberating mantra in the formative years of the creativity in Asia’s Indian English. In this chapter, I will place that mantra in a broader historical context and study its impact on Asian and African creativity in English. In 1937 [published in 1938], Rao said, about writing in English, that ‘the telling has not been easy’ since ‘one has to convey in a language that is not one’s own the spirit that is one’s own’ (p....

    • 8 Talking back and writing back
      (pp. 155-162)

      In its genre, that of face-to-face interviews, Interviews with Writers of the Post-Colonial World is rewarding, stimulating, and extremely informative.¹ The team of two skilful interviewers, Jussawalla and Dasenbrock (hereafter, J and D), have made this fine book a resource for both scholars of language and literature of ‘new literature in English’ (1992: 3). They rightly hasten to explain, however, that ‘some of them [new literatures] are not so new’. One example of a long tradition of writing in English is India, as Indians began to write in the 1820s and a continuous tradition of Indian writing in English descended...

  13. Part IV: Predator

    • 9 Killer or accessory to murder?
      (pp. 165-184)

      The tenor of this chapter is partly indicative of the global gravity and the current tone of international debate on this topic of language death and decay. We are witnessing in South Asia, in East Asia, in Africa, and indeed across all the continents, escalating critical stages of endangerment, decay, and ultimately, the death of typologically and culturally diverse human languages.

      All of these visions and warnings of impending linguistic doom are not necessarily seen as the inevitable outcome of natural processes in the evolving survival of the fittest languages. The causation is often seen as motivated, intentional, and even...

  14. Part V: Pedagogy

    • 10 Contexts of pedagogy and identity
      (pp. 187-202)

      In recent years there have been insightful initiatives in English pedagogy. These initiatives go beyond earlier essentially Western — British and North American — paradigms of methodology, teacher education, and models of acquisition. A variety of questions have been raised about the underlying constructs¹ of such earlier research and their assumptions; about the classroom practices;² about the status and appropriateness of the construction of a ‘native speaker’ model in the classroom and beyond;³ and about the functional inadequacies of the tools of evaluation.⁴ This articulate — and often acrimonious — debate that brings fresh insights and global and cross-cultural perspectives has yet not abated....

  15. Part VI: Afterword

    • 11 Present tense: Making sense of Anglophone Asia
      (pp. 205-256)

      This afterword recapitulates the major threads of present formal, functional and ideational tensions of Anglophone Asia — a region which is now home to the world’s largest English-using population. In literature a variety of constructs are used to ‘interrogate’ — or ‘problematize’ — the presence of English in Asia, its ideology, methodology and pedagogy. The terms interrogation and problematization have appropriately become cardinal terms in the lexicon of this ideological debate. And challenging questions are raised about the ‘predatory’ presence of English, and its relevance as a medium to articulate and represent ‘Asian values’, religious, and political agendas. The present situation, then, is...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 257-264)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-318)
  18. Index
    (pp. 319-333)