English as an international language: challenges and possibilities

2017-05-02T03:48:53Z (GMT) by Clyne, Michael Sharifian, Farzad
In recent years, there has been a rapid evolution in the demographics of English speaking communities and individuals around the world, with an unprecedented growth in the number of users and learners of English. In the majority of cases, these learners and users are those who would traditionally have been classified as non-native speakers. This trend towards non-native speakers far outweighing native speakers in number is projected to pick up speed. The evolving nature of English in this context of its globalisation has called for a reassessment of a number of key dimensions in applied linguistic studies of English. Scholarly debates have surfaced about various political issues including the validity of the old distinction between native and non-native speakers, what form English should or is likely to take as a language of international/intercultural communication (or lingua franca), and which groups are empowered and which ones disadvantaged by the accelerating prominence of English. Collectively, the essays in this issue of the journal engage with these issues in order to take the debate up to the next level. This article is a position paper which offers to open up the forum and to expand on some of some of these fundamental questions. Copyright 2009 Michael Clyne and Farzad Sharifian. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.