SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Issues in World Englishes

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/23
Year of study:
Year 2

The course explores the emergence of Global Englishes and the increasing use of English as a world lingua franca. It examines the various concepts and theories developed in academia to account for the unprecedented global expansion of English.

English has evolved globally into World Englishes through both linguistic and sociolinguistic changes in the language and its social functions and uses. Thus, the course will start by looking at language variation, contact and change.  The course will then proceed to look at pidgins and creoles, focusing on English-based varieties.  We will then discuss in more detail some of the current issues and debates surrounding Global English(es) such as standards and norms, the native-speaker ideology, and the  educational and economic implications of these debates for the teaching of English in the world today. The course will also look at multilingualism (in Europe and in the rest of the world) and English. Some case studies of international varieties of English will be presented in class. Students will, by building on these sessions and their own reading, give presentations on varieties of English in Kachru’s Outer Circle.  The course will close with discussion of possible future scenarios for Global English(es).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this course a student should be able to . . . 

  • demonstrate critical understanding of the concepts and theories regarding World Englishes and the main dimensions of language variation at the international level
  • show awareness of the global spread of  English and the implications regarding its use in education
  • show a sound understanding of key sociolinguistic and cultural issues arising from the spread of English
  • analyse and critically discuss some of the main characteristics of international varieties of English, including pidgins and creoles.
  • demonstrate the ability to carry out investigative study of topics regarding Global Englishes
  • demonstrate that they have gained the capacity to give a presentation on a variety of World Englishes
  • demonstrate that they have developed the ability to critically assess the materials and themes discussed in the course

The following transferable skills will be acquired:

  • Independent, analytical and critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Data collection skills and capacity to present findings coherently
  • Ability to work in groups
  • Ability to contribute to group discussions
  • Production of clear, coherent and well organised pieces of academic writing


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with a 2 hour lecture per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course will cover the following areas:

  • Variation and change: accents, dialects and Global Englishes
  • Language contact
  • Pidgins and creoles
  • Standards and norms in Global Englishes
  • Current debates and issues in World Englishes
  • The global use of English in education and its implications
  • Globalisation and Global English(es)
  • Multilingualism in Europe and English
  • Global Multilingualism  and English(es)
  • Case studies
  • Prospects and future of (Global) English(es)

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (60%); one essay of 2,500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 2 (20%); one essay of 2,500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 3 (20%).

Suggested reading

Essential  reading for this course:

  • Crystal, D. (2003) English as a Global Language. 2nd edition. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Jenkins, J.  (2009) World Englishes: A Resource book for Students. 2nd edition. London: Routledge.
  • Kirkpatrick, A. (2007) World Englishes: implications for international communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Wardhaugh, R. (2000) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 3rd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules