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January 27, 2004

Staking a Claim to English as an International Language

An article published last week on the Guardian's education Web site looked at English as an International Language (EIL) and how it is perceived thoughout the world. In particular, Jennifer Jenkins of King's College London is critical of the tendency to look down on Englishes other than ENL, English as a Native Language, and to see their variations as errors. This, coupled with the idea that English alone functions as the international language, results in the widespread assumption that "international = English = standard British/American English." The article also looks at the pressures this places on learners and non-native teachers worldwide, leading to such things as language "therapy" in Japan and even surgery in South Korea. It also talks about "sugarcoated" EIL, a phrase coined by Ayako Suzuki, a researcher at King's College - "By 'sugarcoated EIL' she means the English advocated by those who claim allegiance to the concept of EIL but who, beneath the sugar coating, are in fact promoting native-speaker norms."
Full Guardian article

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