Annual Review of Applied Linguistics

Foundations of Multilingualism

World Englishes and English-Using Communities

Braj B. Kachru

This survey includes studies published mainly—but not exclusively—during the 1990s and focuses on literature that brings to the debate on world Englishes theoretical, conceptual, descriptive, ideological, and power-related concerns. The concept “world Englishes”—its genesis and its theoretical, contextual, and pedagogical implications and appropriateness—has been discussed during the past two decades in several programmatic studies and conference presentations (see B. Kachru 1994a). The concept, though not necessarily the term “world Englishes,” gradually evolved during the post-colonial period after the 1960s. It refers to the recognition of a unique linguistic phenomenon, and particularly to the changing contexts of the post-1940s. It was during this period that post-Imperial Englishes were being gradually institutionalized in the language policies of the changed political, educational, and ideological contexts of what were earlier the colonies of the UK and the USA. The earlier tradition of cross-cultural and cross-linguistic acquisition of English, its teaching, and its transformations were being reevaluated by some researchers. The major concerns of this reevaluation include the implications of pluricentricity (Clyne 1992), the new and emerging norms of performance, and the acceptance of the bilingual's creativity as a manifestation of the contextual and formal hybridity of Englishes. In other words, a critical evaluation of earlier paradigms was slowly initiated.

Braj B. Kachru is Professor of Linguistics in the Center for Advanced Study and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is founder and co-editor of World Englishes, associate editor of The Oxford companion to the English language, and series editor of English in the Global Context. He is past president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (1984) and president of the International Association for World Englishes (1997–). His research areas include world Englishes, language in society, and South Asian languages and literatures. Currently he is director of the Center for Advanced Study at Illinois.