- seameo retrac

Asian English in Use: Implications for
Andy Kirkpatrick
Da Nang
3rd International Conference on
TESOL, 9-11 Aug 2012
ASEAN Charter (ratified Feb
‘to promote an ASEAN identity through
the fostering of greater awareness of
the diverse culture and heritage of the
‘in the spirit of unity in diversity’, BUT
‘the working language of ASEAN shall
be English’ (Article 34) (cf. EU)
English is used by more than 800
million multilinguals in Asia alone
(Bolton 2008); and we need to know
something about how these people
use English in lingua franca
communication (cf. also the BRICS
If we want to understand the
use of English in today’s world, ‘ELF
must be one of the central concerns
in this line of research’ (Mauranen
The Asian Corpus of English (ACE)
One million (110 hours) of naturally
occurring English as a Lingua Franca
being used by Asian Multilinguals
Data Collection teams across East
and SE Asia
China (Guangxi University)
Hong Kong (Institute of Education)
Griffith University, Brisbane
University of Malaya
NIE Singapore
University of Brunei
Ateneo de Manila University
Chukyo University, Japan
Examples from ACE
Tense marking
Ind: I waited] for the official
who pick me up ok er and then I tried
to look for the official but because er
er the plane you know landed so
early so (ehm uh oh) the official
hadn’t come yet (C: ehm) yeah
Myan: what a pity (laugh)
Ind: er er I I I had to stay in the
airport and then did nothing (C: ehm)
just sit and I check the placard of
(ehm) RELC (M: ehm) ok and er and I
couldn’t see that’s why I just sit and
take a rest…what about you what
‘and the second purpose is to
seek for a discussion’ (Thai)
‘we tell about opportunities for
each SEAMEO centres’ (Thai)
‘thanks for the World Bank who
supports this programme’
VOICE (European) and ACE Compared
Non-marking of third person singular
Extended use of common verbs
Use of uniform question tag
Dem ‘this’ with plural nouns
‘Different’ prepositions
In VOICE but not ACE
Interchangeability of ‘who’, ‘which’
Flexible use of definite/indefinite
Treating uncountable nouns as plural
Base form of verb for past tense
Omission of articles
Drop of ‘s’ plural marker
Omission of copula ‘be’
Base Verb Form for Past Tense
 pvc> very lazy but then [first name5]
said that he want then hh S2: no aha
S1: just ask just e-mail
 S2: mhm: S1: but even though he
enjoyed and he want to go S2: @@
S1: yeah always missing (1)
 14 tsk she said lah then she kept
replying then she say how can you
erm sue how can you call
 him erm S2: yes erm er he he say that
er erm he ask me for help teaching
Omission of Articles
 the good student to be more active in helping
teacher to help some weaker student to
 erm band two will be the easier for for
teacher to deal with to handle with because
 role of teacher? I mean what’s the role of
teacher in classroom?
Omission of plural ‘s’
• is test you know h you know the teachers and student they greater
h they greater emphasis
• greater emphasis on it er h so teachers and student on purpose er h
learn some test
• any scores yeah too much of it to to attract student come to class
yeah because
• in school as well you can cos it will attract student to choose
something hh they really want
• that is why some of the it student you see them getting offer more
• maybe he was one of the good student the best student in the class
S1: ye
• think about different way of motivating her student that is the start
planning right star
Omission of ‘be’
from [place3] S1: this (.) this our traditional things= S2: =that's cor
fish S3: it looks like the ( )? @ ah S1: yah this our one of our main dish S3: @@
main dis
of your apples= S2: =eh eh it's very cool <5> this very cool S1: hey they are saying
1: but looks too young already S2: <2> this the tutorial that that he er that he
his guy oh yeah oh this one also very stupid this one very stupid it's become better
m right S2: veRY S1: very very slim eh h but this one very obvious they very slim eh
s one ah ah ah ah i saw this before this one this one very special (.) never tried
ery very slim eh h but this one very obvious they very slim eh my face become like
long @
e very rich S2: they @@@ S4: yeah they very rich S3: those of (he) even in coll
then when they see people enjoy the food they very happy no ah right S1: yeah
S2: that
hy i was asking i was asking all the guys eh they very funny @ S3: @@ h S1: yeah
so hard of course can ask aha but just scared they very busy i talk fifteen minutes
not so
What’s Going On?
(i) Too many shared but distinctive features to
be able to argue for substrate language
influence: especially as there are so many
shared features between British and other
(ii) Claiming a universal feature is dangerous –
the tyranny of the counter example!
NB ‘English’ English also has non-standard forms
Britain’s universals for British vernaculars.
‘Standard English is a minority dialect in England’
‘Every corner of the country demonstrates a wide
range of grammatically non-standard forms,
reminding us that such forms are the rule rather
than the exception in spoken English English’
Where’st thou bin?
Cooks peels the potatoes and then they wash
and boils them
He make them and farmers make them
Folks sings
If Asian speakers are using English primarily as
lingua franca, what should be the target/goal
of English language teaching for Asian learners?
To approximate the native speaker?
To be mutually intelligible?
Data from ACE allows to explore these questions.
For example, does the use of non-standard
forms necessarily cause problems in
If so, what features cause problems in
Some phonological features:
There are also non-standard phonological
features that are shared by ASEAN speakers
from different linguistic backgrounds (e.g.,
Deterding and Kirkpatrick 2006, Deterding,
Wong and Kirkpatrick 2008, Kirkpatrick 2010).
Dental fricatives
Reduced initial aspiration
Monophthongal diphthongs, e.g., ‘please’ and
Examples Continued
Lack of reduced vowels
Stressed pronouns
Heavy end-stress
(Note that many of these are common in
many varieties of English.)
There is no evidence that these cause
problems in communication among the
In fact it has been argued that some of these
features (lack of reduced vowels and bisyllabic
triphthongs) enhance mutual intelligibility
What non-standard phonological features did
cause problems of communication?
‘barl’ for ‘pearl’ beads (Myanmar)
‘tree teachers’ for ‘three teachers’ (Lao)
‘honez’ for ‘holes’ (Lao)
‘shauce’ for ‘sauce’ (Viet)
‘uts’ or ‘us’ (Myanmar)
How do speakers repair problems in
Listener strategies
Lexical anticipation, lexical suggestion, lexical
correction (rare)
Don’t give up, request repetition, request
clarification, let it pass
Listen to the message, participant paraphrase,
participant prompt
Speaker strategies
• Spell out the word, repeat the phrase, be
• Paraphrase, avoid local / idiomatic references
(Kirkpatrick 2007)
What do people typically talk about?
Professional topics
(Ear, nose and throat surgeons)
(Lawyers and NGOs
Leisure Topics
Islamic finance
Yin and Yang slippers
Chilli as metaphor for jealousy
Identity and the L1
Coffee as the soul of Vietnam
Asian and Middle-eastern communication
Qualities of Asian rice brands
Thai-Burma border conflicts
In many Asian/ASEAN contexts, we have
moved beyond the postcolonial period and
are now in the ‘post-anglophone’, ‘postanglocultural’ period.
It is the age of the multilingual.
International intelligibility replaces native-like
proficiency as the major goal.
6 Principles of the ‘Lingua Franca Approach’ to
ELT in Asian Contexts
1 The native speaker (inner circle) of English is
not the linguistic target. Mutual intelligibility is
the goal.
2 The native speaker’s culture (inner circle) is
not the cultural target. Intercultural competence
in relevant cultures is the goal.
3 Local multilinguals who are suitably trained
provide the most appropriate English language
4 Lingua franca environments provide excellent
learning environments for lingua franca
5. Spoken is not the same as written
6. Assessment must be relevant to the context
and aims of learning.
We need an ELF curriculum for ASEAN/Asia
(i) that includes Asian cultures and literatures
in English;
(ii) that validates local varieties of English, ELF
and the multilingual
(iii) that validates local trained and
linguistically proficient multilingual teachers.
(iv) that sees local languages as important.
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