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Asian Englishes: Beyond The Canon (Asian Englishes Today) [Paperback]

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Pages   333
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2005
Publisher   University of Washington Press
ISBN  9622096662  
EAN  9789622096660  

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Item Description...

In recent decades, the cultural and linguistic legacies of the colonial era have been superseded by the globalization of English through the international mass media, particularly via satellite television and the Internet. In many societies that were previously the colonies of Anglophone powers, 'new Englishes' have appeared, visible most dramatically in the 'new literatures' of India, Singapore, the Philippines etc. However, many of these new Englishes are much older in provenance than many linguists have previously recognized. The process of British and American imperial expansion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries took the English language to many parts of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, China and Japan. Indeed, it is typically in these initial stages of political, historical and cultural contact that we can identify the dynamics of 'languages in contact', and the origins of 'World Englishes', in a range of settings, including South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.

This Major Work from Routledge, a new title in the History and Development of World Englishes series, is a unique reference collection. It brings together a range of sources, reprinted in facsimile, charting the spread of English throughout Asia and the development of 'Asian Englishes' from the eighteenth century through to the 1960s.

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More About Braj B. Kachru

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Braj B. Kachru is Center for Advanced Study Professor of Linguistics and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emeritus at the University of Illinois.

Braj B. Kachru has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Illinois, Chicago University of Illinois, Urbana-Champai.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Fascinating but flawed  Feb 9, 2006
A native of the Kashmir, Braj Kachru believes that anglophones in Asia have the right to determine the direction of their own varieties of English. He celebrates the creativity of Asians who use English to express their own culture and insists that Indians, Singaporeans, etc. have the right to establish their own canons of correctness.

In Chapter 1, Kachru introduces a number of technical terms used by linguists. In Chapter 2, he summarizes his model of three concentric circles that has become standard since he formulated it in 1985. The Inner Circle consists of Great Britain and the countries settled by it, the Outer Circle consists of countries that have institutionalized the English language to one degree or another (usually after having been colonized), and the Expanding Circle consists of all other countries that are promoting the study of English as a foreign language (EFL).

In Chapter 3, he describes the regional variety called South Asian English (SAE), giving historical background as well as examples of words borrowed into English. Chapter 4 focuses on Japan, but gives a misleading impression that English words borrowed into Japanese are examples of "Japanese English."

The remaining chapters cover: convergence and hybridization of English with local languages; the "myths" of the English for Specific Purposes (ESP) industry; implications of writing literature in Indian English; the question of whether English "kills" endangered languages; and trends in English pedagogy in Asia.

Kachru sometimes blurs his own distinction between the Outer and Expanding Circles, combining Singaporeans (who often speak English with each other) and Japanese (who rarely do unless a foreigner is present) when he appeals to a grand notion of "Asian Englishes" whose speakers deserve power simply by virtue of numbers. One wonders, however, how many people actually converse in English.

In Chapter 11, Kachru explains the dramatic subtotal of 533 million anglophones. The component figure of 200 million English "users" in China is a 1995 estimate by Zhao and Campbell who assumed that everyone who graduated junior high school after passing an English exam "uses" English. The figure of 333 million for India is an update of "almost one in every three Indians" reported in a 1997 survey commissioned by a respected Indian weekly.

Aside from these unverified statistics, there are outdated ones which beg for updating. For example, the tables on page 56 which show that over 20% of Indian faculty and graduate students prefer Indian English over British or American English are dated 1976. Surely, these statistics must have changed in the past 30 years, probably in the direction of increasing preference among Indians for their own variety of English.

Another problem with this book is that 8 of its 11 chapters are updates of articles that Kachru published during 1966-1998. References to 1980s studies as "recent work" seem strange, and the overall cohesiveness of the book is strained. On the other hand, the piecemeal approach is well-suited for showing the reader how multi-faceted the overall topic is.

The editing of the book is sloppy, making it a poor showcase for the skill of Hong Kong anglophones. Table 2.1 confuses biweekly/semi-weekly and contains a significant numerical error. The publisher or editor seems also to have avoided the effort of inputting proper nouns into their spell-checker dictionary, leading to inconsistent spelling of the names of several people including the author himself.

For more info, read the longer review I wrote for Asia Times ( Jan 28, 2006.

Write your own review about Asian Englishes: Beyond The Canon (Asian Englishes Today)

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