CULTURES, CONTEXTS, AND WORLD ENGLISHES CONTEXTS, AND WORLD ENGLISHES This volume aims to familiarize readers with the varieties of world Englishes used across cultures and to create

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    This volume aims to familiarize readers with the varieties of world Englishes used acrosscultures and to create awareness of some of the linguistic and socially relevant contexts andfunctions that have given rise to them. It emphasizes that effective communication amongusers of different Englishes requires awareness of the varieties in use and their cultural,social, and ideational functions. Cultures, Contexts, and World Englishes

    demonstrates the rich results of integrating theory, methodology, and application; features critical and detailed discussion of the sociolinguistics of English in the

    globalized world; gives equal emphasis to grammar and pragmatics of variation and to uses of

    Englishes in spoken and written modes in major English-using regions of the world.

    The Introduction outlines the underlying sociocultural reasons for language variation anddiscusses the status and functions of English in various parts of the world. Part I providesthe background necessary to appreciate variation in English. Part II presents select featuresof grammatical and lexical variation to relate sociocultural contexts to the structuralfeatures of Englishes. Part III sets out the conventions of language use in the spoken andwritten modes across cultures. The Conclusion briefly discusses topics such as issues ofstandardization and codification, ideological stances with regard to linguistic imperialismand hegemony, violation of linguistic human rights attributed to the English language, andmonolingual and native-speaker bias associated with practices in the English LanguageTeaching profession.

    Each chapter includes suggestions for further reading and challenging discussionquestions and appropriate research projects designed to enhance the usefulness of thisvolume in courses such as World Englishes, English in the Global Context, Sociolinguistics,Critical Applied Linguistics, Language Contact and Convergence, Ethnography ofCommunication, and Crosscultural Communication.

    Yamuna Kachru is Professor Emerita of Linguistics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA. She has taught in India, the UK, and the USA and has been invitedas a speaker in Asia, Europe, and North America. Her research areas include structure ofHindi and other South Asian languages, and communication across languages and culturesusing world Englishes. She was honored by the President of India for her contribution toHindi linguistics with an award in 2006. Professor Kachru has authored and edited manyscholarly papers and books on topics related to world Englishes.

    Larry E. Smith is President of Christopher, Smith & Associates (CSA) LLC whose missionis to equip, empower, and inspire leaders for the twenty-first century. His experienceincludes over two decades as a researcher and administrator at Hawaiis EastWest Centerand a decade as Executive Director of the International Association for World Englishes(IAWE). He is co-founding editor (with Braj B. Kachru) of the professional journal WorldEnglishes: Journal of English as an International and Intra-national Language and has authored,edited, and co-edited a number of volumes on the topic.

  • ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional SeriesEli Hinkel, Series Editor

    Kachru/Smith Cultures, Contexts, and World EnglishesMcKay/Bokhosrt-Heng International English in its Sociolinguistic Contexts:

    Towards a Socially Sensitive EIL PedagogyChristison/Murray, Eds. Leadership in English Language Education: Theoretical

    Foundations and Practical Skills for Changing TimesMcCafferty/Stam, Eds. Gesture: Second Language Acquisition and Classroom

    ResearchLiu Idioms: Description, Comprehension, Acquisition, and PedagogyChappelle/Enright/Jamison, Eds. Building a Validity Argument for the Text of

    English as a Foreign Language(tm)Kondo-Brown/Brown, Eds. Teaching Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Heritage

    Students: Curriculum Needs, Materials, and AssessmentsYoumans Chicano-Anglo Conversations: Truth, Honesty, and PolitenessBirch English L2 Reading: Getting to the Bottom, Second EditionLuk/Lin Classroom Interactions as Cross-cultural Encounters: Native Speakers in

    EFL LessonsLevy/Stockwell CALL Dimensions: Issues and Options in Computer Assisted

    Language LearningNero, Ed. Dialects, Englishes, Creoles, and EducationBasturkmen Ideas and Options in English for Specific PurposesKumaravadivelu Understanding Language Teaching: From Method to PostmethodMcKay Researching Second Language ClassroomsEgbert/Petrie, Eds. CALL Research PerspectivesCanagarajah, Ed. Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and PracticeAdamson Language Minority Students in American Schools: An Education in

    EnglishFotos/Browne, Eds. New Perspectives on CALL for Second Language ClassroomsHinkel Teaching Academic ESL Writing: Practical Techniques in Vocabulary and

    GrammarHinkel/Fotos, Eds. New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language

    ClassroomsHinkel Second Language Writers Text: Linguistic and Rhetorical FeaturesVisit for additional information on titles inthe ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional Series


    Yamuna Kachru and

    Larry E. Smith

  • First published 2008by Routledge270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016

    Simultaneously published in the UKby Routledge2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN

    Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

    2008 Taylor & Francis

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilizedin any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known orhereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any informationstorage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

    Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registeredtrademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent toinfringe.

    Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication DataKachru, Yamuna.Cultures, contexts, and world Englishes/Yamuna Kachru, Larry E. Smith.p. cm.(ESL & applied linguistics professional series)Includes bibliographical references and index.1. English languageVariation. 2. English languageDialects.3. English languageForeign countries. 4. English languageSocial aspects.5. Communication, International. 6. Sociolinguistics. I. Smith, Larry E.II. Title.PE1700.K28 2008427.009dc22 2007045123

    ISBN10: 0805847324 (hbk)ISBN10: 0805847332 (pbk)ISBN10: 0203891341 (ebk)

    ISBN13: 9780805847321 (hbk)ISBN13: 9780805847338 (pbk)ISBN13: 9780203891346 (ebk)

    To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledgescollection of thousands of eBooks please go to

    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008.

    ISBN 0-203-89134-1 Master e-book ISBN



  • Contents

    List of illustrations xiPreface xiiiAcknowledgments xviiList of symbols xixList of abbreviations xxi

    Introduction: World Englishes and Cultural Contexts 1

    English in the world 1Numerical strength and status 5Functions of English 6The organization of the book 7The sources 10

    Part I: Verbal Interaction and Intelligibility 15Introduction 15Theoretical approach to verbal interaction 16Intelligibility 17

    1 Interaction as Cooperation 19Introduction 19Information exchange 20Relevant concepts 20Conclusion 27

  • 2 Context of Culture 31Introduction 31Context and context of situation 32Structure of background knowledge 34Culture, context of situation, and language use 37Conclusion 38

    3 Parameters of Politeness 41Introduction 41Conclusion 54

    4 Intelligibility and Interlocutors 59Introduction 59Is intelligibility always necessary? 60Intelligibility defined 61Comprehensibility 62Intelligibility vs. Comprehensibility 62Interpretability 63Intelligibility, comprehensibility, and interpretability 64Relation to language fluency and cultural competency 66Examples of cultural conventions of communication 66Conclusion 68

    Part II: Sound, Sentence, and Word 71Introduction 71Language variation 72Rhythmic patterns 72Grammatical patterns 74Vocabulary and idioms 75

    5 Sounds and Rhythm 77Introduction 77Stress and rhythm 77Sounds 80Sounds and intelligibility 82

    6 Phrases and Sentences 85Introduction 85Grammar 85Thematic information 100Conclusion 100

    viii CONTENTS

  • 7 Words and Collocations 103Introduction 103Issues in compiling dictionaries 104The Asian context 105Processes of nativization 106Considerations in compiling regional dictionaries 109Conclusion 110

    Part III: Conversational and Writing Styles 113Introduction 113Conversation 114Writing 114Spoken vs. written language 114Text types 115Interactional vs. transactional text 116Imaginative text 116

    8 Conversational Interaction 119Introduction 119Organization of conversational interaction 120Crosscultural differences 121Implications for crosscultural conversation 127Speech acts, cooperative principles, and politeness 128Issues of identity 133Conclusion 133

    9 Interaction in Writing 135Introduction 135Letters 136Academic writing 141Argumentative text 154Genre analysis 156Conclusion 161

    10 Contextualizing World Englishes Literatures 165Introduction 166Why literary text? 167Cultural themes 168Exponents of creativity 172Teaching English literatures in various contexts 174Conclusion 175


  • Conclusion: World Englishes: Legacy and Relevance 177

    Introduction 177Attitudes and ideologies 177English in human knowledge and interaction 180Conclusion 181

    References 185Inde