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M.A. Combined Program Thesis

Field: English Language Teaching Methodology
Code: 60.14.10

HANOI – 2012





M.A. Combined Program Thesis

Field: English Language Teaching Methodology
Code: 60.14.10

Supervisor: Dr. Ngo Huu Hoang

HANOI – 2012


Figure 1
Kachru‟s categorization of countries in which English is used
Figure 2
Selinker‟s interlanguage continuum
Figure 3
Medgyes‟s version of interlanguage continuum

Table 1
Perceived differences in Teaching Behavior between NESTs
and NNESTs (Medgyes, 1994)
Table 2
Students‟ preference of language teachers
Table 3
Teachers‟ preference of language teachers
Table 4
Students‟ perception of the strengths and weaknesses of
NESTs and Vietnamese teachers
Table 5
Teachers‟ perception of the strengths and weaknesses of
NESTs and Vietnamese teachers
Table 6
Use of English outside the classroom
Table 7
Students‟ goal of learning English
Table 8
Students‟ perceptions of Native and Non-native English
Table 9
Students‟ preference of Native and Non-native Pronunciation
Table 10
Students‟ preference of Grammar
Table 11
Students‟ perceptions of NS spoken grammar
Table 12
Students‟ preference of Culture
Table 13
Teachers‟ preference of Native and Non-native Pronunciation
Table 14
Teachers‟ preference of Grammar
Table 15
Teachers‟ preferred grammar model
Table 16
Teachers‟ perceptions of spoken grammar
Table 17
Teachers‟ perceptions of Students‟ Cultural Preference
Table 18
Teachers‟ preference of Culture
Table 19
Teachers‟ views on the current situation
Table 20
Teachers‟ views about the future



1. Rationale of the study 1
2. Previous Studies 3
3. Scope of the study 7
4. Research objectives and research questions 7
5. Significance of the Study 8
6. Design of the study 9

Chapter 1: Theoretical background 10
1. 1. Key concepts in English as a Lingua Franca 10
1. 1. 1. The worldwide spread of English in the era of globalization 10
1. 1. 2. Kachru‟s Three Circles Model and English varieties 11
1. 1. 3. World Englishes, Word Standard English and New Englishes 14
1. 1. 4. International English and English as a Lingua Franca 15
1. 2. Native Model versus Non-Native Model 18
1. 2. 1. Native Speaker – an ambiguous concept 18
1. 2. 2. Native Speaker Model or Non-Native Speaker Mode: a controversy 21
1. 2. 3. Native English Speaking Teachers (NESTs) versus Non-native English
Speaking Teachers (NNESTs) 29
1. 2. 3. 1. A discussion of language teaching competence of NESTs
and NNESTs 29
1. 2. 3. 2. Attitudes towards NESTs and NNESTs 36

Chapter 2: Research Methodology 41
2. 1. Participants 41
2. 2. Research approach 42
2. 3. Research method 43
2. 3. 1. Data collection method 43
2. 3. 1. 1. Open-ended questionnaire 43
2. 3. 1. 2. Interviews 44
2. 3. 2. Data analysis method 45
Chapter 3: Findings Analysis and Discussion 46
3. 1. Perceptions of Native and Non-Native English Speaking Teachers 46
3. 1. 1. Preference over Native and Non-Native English Speaking Teachers 46
3. 1. 1. 1. Discussion of the student results 46
3. 1. 1. 2. Discussion of teacher results 48
3. 1. 1. 3. Comparing the student results and the teacher results 52
3. 1. 2. Perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of NESTs and NNESTs 53
3. 1. 2. 1. Discussion of student results 53
3. 1. 2. 2. Discussion of teacher results 55
3. 1. 2. 3. Comparing the student results and the teacher results 59
3. 2. Perceptions of Native Speaker Model in language teaching/ learning 60
3. 2. 1. Teaching/ learning goal 60
3. 2. 1. 1. Discussion of student results 60
3. 2. 1. 2. Discussion of teacher results 61
3. 2. 1. 3. Comparing the student results and the teacher results 62
3. 2. 2. Preferred varieties of English 63
3. 2. 2. 1. Discussion of student results 63
3. 2. 2. 2. Discussion of teacher results 69
3. 2. 2. 3. Comparing the student results and the teacher results 74
3. 2. 3. Teacher‟s view on the inclusion of different varieties of English in
language teaching 76

1. Conclusion 78
2. Recommendations 80
3. Limitations of the study 83
4. Suggestions for further studies 83
APPENDICES ……………………………………………………………………… I
APPENDIX 1 ……………………………………………………………………….I
APPENDIX 2 ………………………………………………………………………V
APPENDIX 3 ………………………………………………………………………X


1. Rationale of the study
The world, over the last five decades, has experienced a phenomenal,
explosive growth of English on a global scale. The unprecedented worldwide spread
of English beyond the boundary of what Kachru (1985) termed “Inner Circle”
countries has substantially consolidated the position of English as a Lingua Franca
(henceforth ELF), making it the „prestigious‟ language in most international
encounters (Crystal, 1997; Graddol, 1997; McKay, 2003). In other words, English
has gained the elite global status, becoming the language used “by the world” and
“for the world” (Ngo, 2012).
The globalization of English is not all merits in itself, though. One foreseeable
effect is that English is being dragged drastically away from the hands of its
originators, being modified and hybridized in various aspects. The puzzling
questions of the ownership of English are thus emerging as a bothersome issue to
researchers: Who actually owns English? Whose English should be adopted as the
model for international communication? Do language learners need to rigidly adhere
to the native speaker norms to guarantee their communicative competence?
Although recommendations have been made for teachers, learners, and all
users of English to move beyond the native-speaker model as the sole target in
English language instruction (Jenkins, 2000, 2006; McKay, 2002: Brutt-Griffler,
2002; Seidlhofer, 2001), there exists a fact that the native-speaker model is still
mythically “worshipped” in many countries, including Vietnam. Obsessed with the
native-speaker language competence, learners rush en masse to English language
centers which advertise opportunities to work with “native English teachers” and
promise the capability of “using English as a native speaker” in the shortest time.
These catchy phrases are also repeatedly found in a wide range of recruitment
advertisements, “Native English Instructors wanted”, “Native speakers, over 22, with
university degree only”, to name just a few (cited in Fukumura, 1993). Another

example on this issue is the recent recruitment of 100 Philippine
teachers of English
by the Department of Education and Training (DOET) in Ho Chi Minh City,
Vietnam. This decision provoked two different waves of responses: one is from
parents who questioned the recruitment of such teachers whose language competence
was thought not to be any better than Vietnamese teachers of English; and the other
is from Vietnamese teachers who felt being discriminated against by their foreign
. In quoting these examples, the researcher has no intention of giving
any “right-or-wrong” judgments apart from the desire to shift the focus to the
following existing situations in Vietnam: (1) the dominant native-orientation
manifested in both recruiting strategies, and (2) the common discrimination against
Moreover, there is a contradiction that while we tend to be quite tolerant with
foreigners learning Vietnamese, we do not have such an attitude towards Vietnamese
learners learning English. We always assert that communicative success is the
priority, but we keep on ignoring, either unintentionally or intentionally, the fact that
in the context when far more interactions are between non-native speakers, any
attempt to identify with Inner Circle speakers or to produce the variety of English
grounded there is hardly necessary.
In Vietnamese context, the teaching and learning of English has been
immensely influenced by Inner Circle countries. This influence, under the form of
funding and training programs, makes English nearly impossible to be “a neutral
medium unlinked with Western cultural and ideological values,” (Pham, 2011). As a
result, almost all pedagogical activities in Vietnam are quite native speaker-oriented
(e.g. learning materials are stubbornly Anglo-centrically designed; other varieties of
English are marginally reflected in ELT curricula and teaching materials; assessment
tends to focus on how closely learners conform to the native norms, mostly

It is worth mentioning that the DOET in Ho Chi Minh city seemingly take little notice of the fact
that the Philippine are not “native speakers of English”, but just bilinguals.

The information was retrieved from http://kienthuc.net.vn/xa-hoi/doi-song/201211/TPHCM-

American and British, and so on). Fortunately, due to the country‟s endeavor to
further its integration into international and regional communities, a part of
Vietnamese people are becoming more aware of the necessity of a linguistic
repertoire which can cater to the communicative needs with not only Americans or
Britons or Australians, but also with people from neighboring countries such as
Singapore and the Philippines. In this way, the pluralistic standard approach, albeit
still dim and weak, has started to make inroads into the ELT stream.
All the aforementioned features reflect the intersection between two main
approaches to Vietnamese language education, that can be termed shortly Native
Approach and Non-native Approach. While the former clings to the traditional
loyalty to Inner Circle countries‟ norms, the latter presents an effort to curtail the
native- speaker dominance and to encourage the incorporation of more varieties, or
New Englishes, into practice. The issue of accepting and adapting New Englishes has
been raised in Vietnam, but whether this proposal can offer a plausible alternative to
the traditional version still generates a heated debate. What we need now is serious
research on both theoretical and practical feasibility of each approach within the
Vietnamese current context. Nevertheless, seemingly up to date not much has been
done except for quite few related studies like Do‟s research (2010), Pham‟s review
(2001), and Ton & Pham‟s investigation (2010). This research gap sparks the
researcher‟s special interest and serves as the first and foremost impetus for the
implementation of this research on “Native and Non-native approaches to teaching
English as a global lingua franca as perceived by teachers and students at FELTE,
ULIS, VNU.” Hopefully, this attempt can narrow the gap and bring new perspectives
to the field.
2. Previous Studies
There is a growing body of publications and research concerning the global
status of English. Back in the late 19
century and the early 20
century, World
Englishes (WEs) and English as an International Language (EIL) were topics notable
for their absence in most of linguistic forums and conferences. Up to present, many

linguistic journals have been published to exclusively focus on WEs and EI (e.g.
World Englishes, English Today, and Asian Englishes).
World English, International English, World Englishes, New Englishes,
English as an International Language, English as a Global Lingua Franca, etc., these
terms are all recurring in growing availability of corpora that include Outer Circle
and Expanding Englishes. One typical instance is Seidlhofer‟s corpus projects (2001)
Vienna Oxford International Corpus of English (VOICE) that draws exclusively on
the Expanding Circle. The acceptance of EIL/ ELF is also manifested in the increase
in dictionaries and grammars of different Englishes, such as The Macquarie
Dictionary (1997), which incorporates words from a range of Southeast Asian
Englishes. More and more scholarly books in the field, additionally, are published,
giving book-length treatments of WEs and EIL. Some earlier volumes to be named
include Kachru (e.g. 1982, 1986), and Platt, Weber, and Ho (1984). Other important
publications in this vein have followed, including Phillipson‟s Linguistic Imperialism
(1992) and Pennycook (1994) (these two authors are commented by Bolton ( 2002,
p.385) as “together having been influential in establishing the agenda for the critical
discussion of World English(es)”. All linguists with the research interest in ELF can
be divided into anti-imperialists such as Phillipson, who would prefer English(es)
not to be the most widely used world language, and those such as Kachru,
Canagarajah and Parakrama, whose concern is more with resisting the hegemony of
native speaker standards and appropriating English for their own local use.
The recent studies deal more with Englishes in the Outer and Expanding
Circle, especially the Asian context. We can lists some works such as: Pennington
(1998), Bolton (2002) and Groves (2009) on Hong Kong English; Bolton (2003) and
Adamson (2004) on China English; Stanlaw (2004) on Japanese English; Pakir
(1992), Brown, Deterding, and Ee Ling (2000), and Deterding, Brown, and Ee Ling
(2005) on Singapore English; and the most groundbreaking Kachru‟s research (2005)
on “the Asianess in Asian Englihes” and a number of edited collections (e.g. Ho &
Ward, 2000; Kirkpatrick, 2002) cover a range of Asian Englishes along with
implications for their teaching and learning.

The dramatic increase in the number of publications concerning the rising role
of WEs and ELF provide evidence for the conclusion that the “WEs seeds sown by
Kachru and others in the 1980s have blossomed and flourished…, and that ELF, too,
has more recently become a vibrant area of study” (Jenkins, 2004). It is critical to
highlight that the advocates of ELF perspectives are not only those coming from the
Outer and Expanding Circle, the non-Anglo Saxons (e.g. Kachru, David Nunan,
Canaharajah, Parakrama, etc.) but also those with Anglo-Saxon origins (McArthur,
McKay, David Crystal, Larry Smith, Kirkpatrick, etc.). It indicates that ELF is not a
desperate desire of a group of non-native speakers aspiring to a equal status with the
native; rather, it is a natural trend realized by the whole world in the demand for
successful international or intercultural communication.
Under this perspective, many studies have been conducted, providing a
comparison between Native Speaker Model and Non-Native Speaker Model (e.g.
The Native Speaker is Dead! of Paikeday, 1985; Native and Non-native: who’s worth
more of Peter Medgyes, 1992; Native English - Speaking Teachers versus Non-
Native English-Speaking Teachers of Merino, 1997; Native and Non-native: What
can they offer? of Tajino & Tajino, 2000; Insights towards Native and Non-Native
ELT Educators of Ulate, 2011; etc.). Many of these reject the native speaker fallacy
and attach great importance to the role of Non-native English-speaking Teachers in
the instruction of ELF (Cook, 1999; Braine, 1999; Medgyes, 1999, 2001; Moussu &
Llurda, 2008). In the same vein, many studies are dedicated to investigating the
differences between native and non-native speaking ESL/EFL teachers (NESTs and
NNESTs). Some of the first reflections came in the 1980s (e.g. Kachru, 1981; Pride,
1981; Nickel, 1985; Coppieters, 1987; Kresovich, 1988, Edge, 1988). Other
dedicated contributions that appeared during the 1990s and the early 20
include Medgyes 1992, 1994, Canagarajah 1999, Barratt & Kontra 2000, McKay
2003, Llurda 2005, etc.
To incorporate a classroom perspective on the issue, a portion of research has
been carried out on the population of ESL/ EFL teachers and learners (e.g. Samimy
& Brutt-Griffler, 1999; Braine, 2004; Morita, 2004, Llurda, 2005; Moussu, 2002,
2006; Butler, 2007; Mahboob, 2003, 2004; Cheung, 2002; Liang, 2002; Kim, 2007,

etc.). A variety of studies on NNESTs‟ self-perception reported a common case of
insecurity, self-doubt and inferiority complex to native counterpart (Reves &
Medgyes, 1994, Samimy & Brutt-Griffler, 1999; Braine, 2004; Morita, 2004).
Whereas, quite a significant number of research on learners‟ perceptions reveal an
unbiased opinions. Cook‟s research (2000), for example, led to a conclusion that
there is no overwhelming preference for NS teachers among his Belgian, English,
and Polish informants; “being an NS is only one among many factors that influence
students‟ view of teaching” (Cook, 2000:331). In another study, Mahboob (2004)
found that ESL students in his study (based in the United States) also do not express
a clear preference for either NESTs or NNESTs; rather, they feel that both types of
teachers have unique attributes. Mahboob, based on that result, proceeded to
conclude that both NESTs and NNESTs working collaboratively can provide a better
learning environment to ESL students.
Another aspect of investigations is the teachers‟ and learners‟ perceptions
towards the conformity to the Native Speaker norms (e.g. Canagarajah, 1999; Timis,
2002). Timmis‟s research (2002), for instance, which was conducted in Pakistan,
Indian, and South African settings, found out that the majority of students and
teachers still showed a strong favor of native speaker model in terms of both
pronunciation and grammar use and considered it as “a benchmark of perfection and
achievement” and “as the long term goal”.
In Vietnamese context, studies on ELF teaching approaches also make some
significant contributions to the issue (Do, H. T, 2000; Pham, H.H., 2001; Tran, L.,
2002; Ton, N.N.H & Pham, H.H., 2010; Ngo, H.H., 2012). The significance of
incorporating World Englishes has been seriously considered and voices have been
collected towards the introduction of various varieties of English into ELT. Do
(2000) and Ton & Pham (2010), for example, conducted survey studies to discover
the preferred varieties of English from the Vietnamese teachers‟ and learner‟s point
of view. Pham (2001) and Ngo (2012) step further from these findings by asserting
that English used as a global language needs to be diversified and to become “a truly
international language which people around the globe can use equally to serve their
own varying purposes” (Pham, 2001). In this sense, different varieties of English

must be accepted and the approach of following the native speaker model should be
proven “outdated and unreasonable” as well as “too hard to succeed” (Ngo, 2012).
Overall, to date, Vietnamese studies focus much on what particular varieties should
be adopted, and less on the the role of language teachers in providing an appropriate
language model, and thus leaving a research gap for further exploration.
3. Scope of the study
The issues of English as a Global Lingua Franca has sparked the interest of
many researchers for over three decades. As Kachru (2005:157) pointed out,
“researchers […] are interested in all aspects of the emergence, grammars,
sociolinguistics, ideological issues, creative literature, and teaching and learning.” In
pedagogical respect only, there are also a lot to be taken into consideration. TESOL
practitioners have enthusiastically discussed over the “competitive edge” of native
teachers and non-native teachers, over what community‟s norms should be adopted,
or what method is appropriate to teach English as a lingua franca, so on and so forth.
All of these issues are worthy of an investigation. However, within the scope of a
Master thesis, the researcher could not cover all the ELF-related issues but put an
emphasis on the questionable importance of the native-speaker model in terms of
language use in Vietnamese ELT context and the role of language teachers (either
NESTs or NNESTs) in directing students‟ attention to appropriate language model.
The research presents itself as an attempt to bring in a classroom perspective (i.e.
common attitude and beliefs of learners and teachers - the two major agents involved
in ELT - towards the two approaches, namely Native and Non-Native). The research
population is also restricted to a group of teachers and learners at the Faculty of
English Language Teacher Education, ULIS, VNU with no ambition to generalize
the results into a massive community of Vietnamese teachers and learners.
4. Research objectives and research questions
Overall, the research aims at exploring FELTE teachers‟ and learner‟s
preference towards the native and non-native English-speaking teachers of English as
well as their perception of the native model in English language teaching and
learning. The researcher would like to see to what extent FELTE teachers and

learners “worship” the native-speaker model and to what extent their teaching and
learning is governed by this concept. The results of this investigation gave clue to the
kind of approach strongly advocated at FELTE.
In brief, the research is a quest for the answers to the following questions:
1. Who do FELTE teachers and students perceive as better teachers of English, a
Native English Speaking Teacher or a Non-Native English Speaking
Teachers? Are NESTs always better than NNESTS when English is taught as
a global lingua franca?
2. What varieties of English do FELTE teachers and students perceive as useful?
And in the same light, how significant is it to conform to Native Speaker
Model when English is increasingly taught as a lingua franca?
3. To what extent do FELTE teachers‟ and learners‟ perceptions influence their
real teaching/learning practice?
5. Significance of the Study
Once the research has been completed, it will significantly contribute to the
development of English language teaching in FELTE, ULIS - VNU both
theoretically and practically.
In terms of theoretical contribution, the research will hopefully provide an
insight into FELTE teachers‟ and learners‟ beliefs in the new role of a language
teacher when English is being globalized. Their opinions about their strengths and
weaknesses in comparison with Native English Speaking Teachers will also be
examined to reveal their readiness to teach and learn English as a Global Lingua
Franca. Added to this, voices from FELTE teachers and learners will also be
collected in relation to the significance of conformity to Native Speakers model and
norms as a standard or the backbone of the teaching and learning process. The role of
Native Speaker Model and its influence on every dimension of language teaching in
a country where English is taught as a foreign language will be then reconsidered and
probably redefined with the aim of bringing out positive changes in attitudes and
perceptions toward ELT pedagogy.

In terms of practical benefit, the research findings will hopefully help FELTE
teachers realize the pitfalls in their instruction (if any), which will then lay the
foundation for adequate adjustments. They will also set a reference framework for
the development of new teaching approaches, new teaching goals, new teaching
methods, and a more appropriate selection of teaching materials so that English
language teaching in FELTE in particular and across Vietnam in general can fit into
the global trend, being able to fulfill the mission challenged by the globalization era.
6. Design of the study
The paper is developed into three main parts:
PART I is Introduction. This part includes general details that serve as the
research background leading to the formation of research needs. The impetus for the
study and a brief review of some key studies in the field were discussed prior to the
introduction of research objectives, research questions, the scope and its significance.
PART II – Development is divided into three chapters.
Chapter 1 - Theoretical background is devoted to the clarification of
important theoretical issues. It is comprised of two sub-sections: (1) Key concepts in
ELF (providing the definition of some key terms in ELF) and (2) Native model
versus Non-native model (reviewing current research and controversies related to
NESTs and NNESTs, the native-speaker Model and non-native speaker Model)
Chapter 2 is Research Methodologies, which explains the context, the
selection of participants, the research approach as well as specific methods used in
data collection and data analysis.
Chapter 3 is Findings Analysis and Discussion. The findings from the
questionnaire and interview are presented, described and interpreted.
PART III is Conclusion and Recommendations. This part includes the
summary of key points developed throughout the paper, the pedagogical
recommendations, the explanation of study limitations, and finally some suggestions
for further studies to all of those who share the similar interest in the issue.

Chapter 1: Theoretical background

1. 1. Key concepts in English as a Lingua Franca
1. 1. 1. The worldwide spread of English in the era of globalization
There is, unsurprisingly, a unanimous agreement among both linguistic
researchers and language users that English, in the era of globalization, has become
“a prerequisite for participation” in a vast number of activities (Phillipson, 1992;
Crystal, 1997; Graddol, 1997; Modiano, 2005; McKay, 2003; etc.), ranging from
diplomatic transactions, economic negotiations, international discussions, to many
kinds of casual contacts and entertainment. The demand for the acquisition of
English in a wide range of social and professional domains has elevated its
significance to such a level that the learning or not learning the language can
determine who is capable or incapable of keeping pace with the “international
movement” (Modiano, 2003). In other words, those who do not want to lag behind
the world have no other option but, naturally, pick up the language. Take
Singaporean case as a typical example. Singaporeans view the acquisition of English
as the key to their economic survival or gateway to better future. Singaporean parents
maintain that:

“A lack of a command in English would mean the continued marginalization of their
children in a world that would continue to use the language to a greater degree. It
would also deny them access to the extensive resources available in English –
resources which have developed as a consequence of globalization.” (Chew, 1999)

Hence, it is easy to realize that postmodern citizens‟ current interest in
English learning is not a consequence of coercion as it used to be in the colonization
era. Rather, it is “being fueled by a belief in the power of English” (McKay, 2003).
That means, English learning is “a conscious choice” of all the individuals “who
believe it is to their benefit to acquire English as an additional language” (McKay,
2003). As the number of these individuals sours drastically, the world sees a
tremendous growth in the use of English. This entire process of English

“macroacquisition” (a term coined by Brutt-Griffler, 2002), “has gained so much
momentum that at the moment nothing seems to be able to stop it in the foreseeable
future,” argued Schneider (2011).
1. 1. 2. Kachru’s Three Circles Model and English varieties
So far, it has been made clear that the spread of English today does not base
its root either in the increase in the native speaker‟s population or in speaker
migration. Precisely speaking, it is primarily due to the “macro- acquisition” of the
language. For better visualization of the tongue‟s historical expansion, Kachru‟s
(1985) well-known three concentric circles should be applied:

Figure 1: Kachru’s categorization of countries in which English is used
(from Crystal, 1997:54)

(a) The Inner Circle: where English is the primary language of the country –
where the ownership of English was claimed and norms originated;
(b) The Outer Circle: where English serves as a second language in a
multilingual countries;
Inner Circle
e.g. USA, UK,
Outer Circle
e.g. India, the
Philippines, Singapore
150-300 million
Expanding Circle
e.g. China, Japan, Germany
100-1000 million

(c) The Expanding Circle: where English is widely studied as a foreign

On proposing this model, Kachru should be credited for his attempt to
demonstrate the diversity and pluralistic reality of English. The most noticeable
drawback of the model, however, is that there remains the connotation of linguistic
superiority in the model‟s core. The Inner Circle communities are regarded by
Kachru as norm-providing, possessing their own well-established varieties of
English; the Outer Circles communities, by contrast, are still in the process of
developing their own varieties, the „New Englishes‟, and thus are seen as norm-
developing. Finally, the Expanding Circle communities are deemed as norm-
dependent, void of the right to their own variety-development. This distinction
“locates the native speakers and native-speaking countries at the centre of the global
use of English, and, by implication, the sources of models of correctness” (Graddol,
1997). The standard-orientation perspective and the treatment of Inner Circle English
as the “model of correctness” is seemingly no longer rational, especially when
English use in Outer and Expanding Circles is developing at a rocketing speed:

“Based solely on expected population changes, the number of people using English as
their second language will grow from 235 million to around 462 million during the
next 50 years. This indicates that the balance between L1 and L2 speakers will
critically change, with L2 speakers eventually overtaking L1 speakers” (Graddol,

These figures suggest that English today is used not exclusively “in
homogeneous contexts of monolingual speakers”, but more widely in “multilingual
contexts by multilingual speakers” (Graddol, 1997; Smith, 1981; Widdowson, 1994).
In fact, most of verbal exchanges (80 % as estimated by Gnutzman (2000)) in which
English is used involve no native speakers and are between non-native users of
English. This fact adds to the confusion of the Kachru‟s model in that the model does
not appear to take into account the new dominant function of English worldwide:
English has become the means of „wider communication‟ (McKay, 2002; Seidlhofer,
2005) within the three circles, but especially within the Expanding Circle.

As a consequence of its international use, commented Seidlhofer (2005),
“English is being shaped at least as much by its non-native speakers as by its native
speakers.” In so saying, she suggested that English today is not just “one language”
but it comes in many different shapes and sizes, as it were. It is quite different in the
many countries and localities where it has been adopted. The appearance of these
varieties of English facilitates the remark that English is no longer the possession of
its originators (the British and the Americans) (Halliday, MacIntosh and Strevens,
1964; Shaw, 1983), but has become the “property of the world” (Shaw, 1983;
Modiano, 2001), belonging to those who use it, irrespective of whether they use it as
their first language or as an additional language, and regardless of the language
forms they use (standard form or localized form) (Kachru and Smith, 1985).
Unlike French, Chinese or any other language, which continue to be based
upon and controlled by one metropolitan culture, English is no longer centered in the
hands of a few. The language, in many of its aspects, is being adopted and adapted
by increasing number of people for at least some of their purposes, and is integrated
with their local forms, which leads to the codification of many new versions. The co-
existence of a number of world varieties of English (British, American, Australian,
Indian, East African, South-east Asian, to name just a few) with all of their
distinctive features of pronunciation and usage demands a re-conceptualization of the
relationship between them (Canagarajah, 2006). In order to fulfill that demand,
Canagarajah and Said (2009) suggest we move closer towards the notion of English
as “a heterogeneous language with multiple norms and diverse grammars”, as well as
towards Crystal (2004) notion of English as „a family of languages‟ or McArthur‟s
(1987) egalitarian model where the different varieties relate to each other on a single
level (and not hierarchically as in Kachru‟s).” The adoption of this new perspective,
on the one hand, brings in a much more tolerant view of regional varieties, but on the
other hand, complicates our notions of forms and proficiency which are so important
in pedagogical contexts.

1. 1. 3. World Englishes, Word Standard English and New Englishes
As Seidlhofer (2004) pointed out, “wherever English is referred to as the
preferred option for communication among people from different first language
background, the denomination English tends to get modified by the addition as a(n)
x”. A plethora of terminology, including „English as an international language‟ (EIL)
(e.g. Jenkins, 2000; McKay, 2002), „English as a lingua franca‟ (ELF) (e.g.
Gnutzmann, 2000; Seidlhofer, 2001), „English as a global language‟ (e.g. Crystal,
1997; Gnutzmann, 1999), „English as a world language‟ (e.g. Mair, 2003), „English
as a medium of intercultural communication‟ (e.g. Meierkord, 1996), etc. is currently
in circulation. They are even used interchangeably to indicate the same phenomenon
that English today is used internationally as a means of wider communication for a
variety of purposes and in a variety of contexts.
No matter what terms are selected, then, it is obvious that the uses of English
internationally are not restricted to the native language with all of its dialects in the
Inner Circle, but also associated with the New Englishes, or indigenized varieties
developed in the Outer Circle, and with the kind of language characterized by its
fluidity in the Expanding Circle. All these contribute to the phenomenon captured by
the term World Englishes, which is currently enjoying its increasing popularity.
What is the most interesting about this term is that for the first time a language is
expressed in the plural form. In one article in the journal World Englishes (1985),
Kachru and Smith explained that because World Englishes embodies “a new idea, a
new credo”, symbolizing “the functional and formal variation in the language and in
its international acculturation”, the plural “Englishes” is of significance.
According to Bolton (2004), there are three possible interpretations of the
expression World Englishes. Jenkins (2004) rephrased these three interpretations as
the follows:

“Firstly, it serves as an “umbrella label” covering all varieties of English worldwide
and the different approaches used to describe and analyze them. Secondly, it is used in a
narrower sense to refer to the so-called new Englishes in Africa, Asia, and the
Caribbean … Thirdly, it is used to represent the pluricentric approach to the study of
English …” (Jenkins, 2004: p.159)

Despite the range of interpretations of the term World Englishes, Jenkins
(2004) maintained that “the link between them are so strong” that “there seems to be
little confusion over the intended reference.” Although many tend to exclude the
varieties of English used in Inner Circle out of the definition of World Englishes, in
this paper, the researcher would like to propose the following formula for the
understanding of World Englishes:
World Englishes = World English + New Englishes
in which:
 World English refers to the “idealized norm of an internationally
propagated and internationally intelligible variety of the language”,
associated with the Inner Circle‟s (especially American and British) print
and electronic media (Bolton, 2003).
 New Englishes generally refers to the recently emerging and increasing
autonomous, localized and/or nativized varieties of English found in a
non-western setting such as the Caribbean, West and East of Africa, and
parts of Asia (Bolton, 2002a; Bolton 2003 ; McArthur, 1992)

Another term which also attracts a lot of attention is World Standard English.
If World Englishes approach takes all varieties of English into account, then World
Standard English is a “hypothetical, monolithic form of English” (Jenkin, 2004). The
contrast between World English and World Standard English is the contrast between
a common core of international “English”, and geographically dispersed and
distinctive Englishes. This form recalls Quirk‟s (1985) “single monochrome standard
form” that is based on the native speaker English advocated for non-native speakers
of English regardless of their communicative context. This concept of English is
crucially different from the concept of English as a lingua franca, which is the focus
of this paper. Thus, it will not be subject to further analysis.
1. 1. 4. International English and English as a Lingua Franca
In recent years, the term „English as a lingua franca‟ (ELF) has emerged as a
preferred way of referring to communication in English between speakers with
different first languages. EFL is said to be a part of a more general phenomenon of

„English as an international language‟ (EIL) or International English as its shortened
name. These terms are often used interchangeably as general cover terms for uses of
English spanning Inner Circle, Outer Circle, and Expanding Circle contexts (Kachru,
In fact, international language, in this case English, is a complex concept to
define. To some people, it must be a language with a large number of speakers.
Viewed in this sense, English can hardly gain its position as a dominant international
language as it is today. Its position might have been taken over by Chinese. Some
others argue that a language is deemed as international when it serves as a means of
wider communication. Crystal (1997) maintained that “a language achieves global
status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country,” and that
this special status can be achieved either by making it an official language of the
country or by a country giving special priority to English by requiring its study as a
foreign language. In short, it is obvious that the sheer number of speakers is not the
defining characteristic of an international language. Other features need to be taken
into account as well. According to Smith (1976), these features include:
a) learners do not need to internalize the cultural norms of native speakers of
the language,
b) the ownership of an international language becomes „de-nationalized‟,
c) the educational goal of learning the language is to enable learners to
communicate their ideas and culture to others.

The expression “International language”, by itself, indicates a lot of
confusion. Seidlhofer (2004:211) pointed out that the term “international language”
can be misleading as “it suggests that there is one clearly distinguishable, codified,
and unitary variety called International English, which is certainly not the case.”
Thus, in one sense, international English is used to refer to the local Englishes of
those non-mother tongue countries where it has an intranational institutionalized
role. In another sense, it is used to refer to the use of English within and across
Kachru‟s „Circles‟, for intra-national as well as international communication. It is
because of this confusion that „English as a lingua franca‟ become the preferred term

instead of „English as an international language‟, although both are currently in use
and deemed as “complementary distribution” (Seidlhofer, 2004:210).
The term lingua franca is usually used to refer to “any lingual medium of
communication between people of different mother tongues, for whom it is a second
language” (Samarin, 1987). A lingua franca, as shown by this definition, has no
native speakers. This feature is carried over into the definition of English as a lingua
franca, as the following:

[ELF is] a “contact language” between persons who share neither a common native
tongue nor a common (national) culture, and for whom English is the chosen foreign
language of communication. (Firth, 1996)

[ELF is] a vehicular language spoken by people who do not share a native language.
(Mauranen, 2003)

ELF interactions are defined as interactions between members of two or more different
linguacultures in English, for none of whom English is the mother tongue. (House,

Defined in this way, ELF is seemingly interpreted in “its purest form”
(Seidlhofer, 2004:211). However, both Maurenen (2003) and Seidlhofer (2004)
pointed out that ELF is unlike other contact languages. It is not, as many
misunderstand, a reduced version to allow more straightforward exchange of
information, “the end result of the gradual abandonment, avoidance or alteration of
non-native speakers” (Sowden, 2011). It is also not an artificial language with a
monolithic construct and a uniform set of norm. Instead, it should be seen as “a set of
linguistic resources which, while sharing common ground, is typically more variable
than other language varieties” (Dewey, 2007).
Although more ELF interactions take place among non-native speakers of
English, it is necessary to remember that they also “often include interlocutors from
the Inner and Outer Circles” (Seidlhofer, 2004). However, what makes ELF
interactions distinguishable from any other kind of interactions (such as those
between native speakers or between native and non-native speakers) is that the use of
language is directed towards practical purposes among those people varied in their
cultural norms and levels of proficiency. “Many interactions […] are between
participants who do not control standard grammar and whose lexis and pronunciation

do not conform to any recognized norm” (Seidlhofer, 2004:212). Nonstandard,
unedited English is becoming more and more visible (Melcher & Shaw, 2003:195).
Seidlhofer (2004) called this “the process of internationalization and
destandardization,” which is being accelerated by the dramatic expansion of
electronic communication through the Internet. In this process, ELF users are “not
just at the receiving end”, but they also “contribute to the shaping of the language
and the function it fulfills and so, as speech communities, take possession of the
language” (Seidlhofer, 2004:214).
Overall, it can be observed that today English exemplifies most of the features
that warrant it being considered as a lingua franca, or an international language in the
global sense. The use of ELF is thus widely encouraged. The main reason for this
encouragement is that the notion of English as a lingua franca is deemed to have
arisen and fostered from an attempt to “neutralize English, to sheer it of its cultural
baggage, to remove it from the hands of its Anglo-Saxon native speakers, and to
emphasize its role as a value-free means of international communication belonging
equally to all who speak it as a first or second language” (Sowden, 2011). As a
consequence of the restriction of Anglo-Saxon cultures, ELF helps to ease the
process of communication and curb the authority of native speakers. Another crucial
reason is that it closely resembles the versions of English actually spoken by a
massive number of non-native speakers in most of international exchanges. ELF is,
therefore, considered “a more achievable and relevant target for the majority of
learners” (Sowden, 2011).

1. 2. Native Model versus Non-Native Model
1. 2. 1. Native Speaker – an ambiguous concept
According to McKay (2002), the term “native speaker of English” has been
subjected to a great variety of interpretations. Some people argue that the essential
feature of a native speaker is that English must be the first language learned. “The
first language a human being learns to speak is his native language; he is a native
speaker of this language” (Bloomfield, 1933). However, this definition seems to be
too restricting. In fact, the first learned language can be replaced by a language that

is acquired later (although may not be completely forgotten) through the more
frequent and fluent use of the later-acquired language where the first language is “no
longer useful, no longer generative or creative and therefore no longer „first‟”
(Davies, 1991:16). Some others contend that “to be a native speaker involves the
continued use of English in that person‟s life”. For some still others, being a native
speaker assumes a high level of competence in English. The native speaker is the
authority of the grammar of his or her native language (Chomsky, 1965) who “knows
what the language is […] and what the language isn‟t […]” (Davies, 1991:1).
According to this logic, a native speaker is an individual who is infallible and has
perfect command of his or her language.
Arriving at a clear definition of a native speaker is a challenging and irritating
task to do. Thus, for a quick understanding of the term and in order to get a clearer
picture of what a native speaker is, the researcher would like to list out six defining
features of a native speaker that numerous scholars in the field of Second Language
Acquisition and language teaching support and agree upon. These features are:
(1) The individual acquired the language in early childhood (Davies, 1991;
McArthur, 1992; Phillipson, 1992) and maintains the use of the language
(Kubota, 2002; McArthur, 1992),
(2) The individual has intuitive knowledge of the language (Davies, 1991;
Stern, 1983),
(3) The individual is able to produce fluent, spontaneous discourse (Davies,
1991; Maum, 2002; Medgyes, 1992),
(4) The individual is communicatively competent (Davies, 1991; Liu, 1999;
Medgyes, 1992), able to communicate within different social settings
(Stern, 1983),
(5) The individual identifies with or is identified by a language community
(Davies, 1991; Johnson & Johnson, 1998; Nayar, 1994)
(6) The individual does not have a foreign accent (Coulmas, 1981; Medgyes,
1992; Scovel, 1969, 1988).

Despite all these efforts to characterize “native speakers”, it remains such an
ambiguous concept. The diversity of English speaking communities itself makes “an

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