MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY
LINGUSITIC FEATURES OF THE ENGLISH
USED IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES
(ĐẶC ĐIỂM TỪ VỰNG HỌC CỦA TIẾNG ANH
DÙNG Ở CÁC NƯỚC ĐÔNG NAM Á)
NGUYỄN VIỆT NGA
Field: English Language
Supervisor: PhD. Do Kim Phuong
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report entitled
LEXICAL FEATURES OF ENGLISH USED IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES
submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master in English
Language. Except where the reference is indicated, no other person’s work has been used
without due acknowledgement in the text of the thesis.
Ha Noi, 2017
Nguyen Viet Nga
PhD. Do Kim Phuong
First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor PhD.
Do Kim Phuong for the useful comments, remarks and engagement through the
learning process of this master thesis.
Furthermore, I would like to thank her for introducing me to the topic as well as
for the support on the way.
Also, my sincere thanks go to the lecturers of Hanoi Open University, lecturers
of the Faculty of Post Graduate Studies of Hanoi Open University, my colleagues and
friends who help the study to be fulfilled and willingly share their precious time during
the process of conducting this thesis.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my family for their continuous support
and encouragement throughout entire process, both by keeping me harmonious and
helping me putting pieces together. I will be grateful forever for their support.
As English has constantly been spreading around the world as a global language,
it is no longer a language restricted to countries where it is spoken as the first language
(mother tongue). Its spread is obviously seen in Southeast Asia, a sub-region of Asia
which includes eleven multiethnic, multicultural and multilinguistic countries. In the
region, English can be classified into two groups: as a second language, or as a foreign
language. Particularly, English has developed into new varieties called “New
Englishes” such as Singapore English, Brunei English, Philippine English, and
The objectives of this study are to provide overviews of the lexical features of English in
Southeast Asian countries, and how the countries fit into this model. Besides, the future of
English in Southeast Asia is speculated basing on its future in the world and on the current
language situation in the region. For this to be possible, English as a second language has to be
discussed, and features of vocabulary in some countries of Asia in particular will thus be
The important element in this study is the various implications of the role of English in
Asia on English language practices. These implications lead to suggesting some possible
suggestions for effective approaches to communicating English effectively in some Southeast
LIST OF ABBREVIATION
AmE: American English
BrE: British English
MaE: Malaysia English
SgE: Singapore English
StE: Standard English
ESL: English as a Second Language: learning English in an English
EFL: English as a Foreign Language: learning English in a non-English
WE: World of English
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Figure 1.1.1: 10 most spoken languages in the world
Figure 2.2.1 : Three concentric Circles of English- Kachru (1997)
Table 1: Distribution of features borrowed from Malay
Table 2: Semantic modification of Malay loanwords
Figure 4.2.1: The three levels of the lectal continuum (Baskaran)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Certificate of originality
List of abbreviations
List of tables and figures
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Rationale for the study…………………………………………………………9
1.2 Aims and objectives of the study …………………………………………….11
1.3. Research questions…………………………………………………………...12
1.4 Methods of the study………………………………………………………….12
1.5 Scope of the study ……………………………………………………………12
1.6 Significance of the study ……………………………………………………..13
1.7 Design of the study …………………………………………………………..13
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW …………………………………………15
2.1 Review of the previous study…………………………………………………15
2.2 An overview of “New English”..………………………………………….......16
2.2.1 Term of varieties of English……………………………………………........19
2.2.2 Some general features of English in Asia……………………………….......23
2.3 Theory of linguistics.…………………………………………………………..25
2.3.1 Lexical features ……………………………………………………………...26
Chapter 3: LEXICAL FEATURES OF MALAYSIAN, SINGAPOREAN
3.1 Features of vocabulary in Malaysia English………………………………....38
3.2 Features of vocabulary in Singaporean English……………………………...44
3.3 The lexical differences between in some varieties of English used in
Southeast Asian and Standard English…………………………………………...46
Chapter 4: APPLICATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN ENGLISH IN
4.1 Implications for regional multilingualism...……………………..…….…….54
4.2 Implications of using some varieties of Southeast Asian English in working cross
Chapter 5: CONCLUSION……………………………………………………..60
5.1 Concluding remarks ………………………………………………………….60
5.2 Limitation of the study ……………………………………………………….61
5.3 Recommendations/Suggestions for further study ………………….………...61
Appendix 1. Status of English, historical background and number of speakers in Asian
1.1 Rationale of the study
English has spread in many parts of the world. The increase in the number of
those learning it and using it has been the most noticeable example of its expansion in
this century. It has become the most important international language and is the most
commonly taught as a second or foreign language in the world. Recent facts from the
Internet show that there are about 780 million users of English of whom about 380
million are native speakers, about 300 million are second language speakers, and about
100 million are foreign language speakers.
The spread of the English language has not gone unnoticed in today’s world.
English has found its way to every continent and many of the remotest areas in the
world. The English language has not, however, remained the same, in terms of
grammar, pronunciation and lexis, in the countries where it has spread. Each country
or each linguistic area has shaped the language to fit its own communicational needs.
Therefore, the English language is slightly different in each of the areas it has spread
to, though there are also similarities between the varieties.
Figure 1.1.1: 10 most spoken languages in the world
It is important to be aware of these different English varieties spoken and written
around the world and therefore also realize that the original varieties, namely British
English and American English, are not the only ones spoken nowadays. These
varieties of English, which are spoken around the world are also called New Englishes
among researchers and the term is generally used when referred to post-colonial
varieties of English.
It should not be forgotten either that today there are actually more non-native
English in the world than native ones. This is due to the fact that the English language
has spread around the world and is nowadays used as a lingua franca. These New
Englishes are therefore not to be left unnoticed. Despite the fact that varieties of
English, which is considered a very important branch of English language, is
investigated and studied by many of lexicologists. In addition, English varieties and
New Englishes and even Asian English have been studied fairly extensively in general.
This study was undertaken because studies on Philippines English, Malaysian English
and Singaporean English are quite few in number. Also, the author found that most of
users often care for vocabulary while communicating in English which there are many
problems for people as an international language. One of the most difficulties of
people working abroad is probably problems in identifying and understanding various
varieties of English. Among them, the varieties of English vocabulary cause a lot of
troubles. Varieties of English include many phenomena such as words spelling,
pronunciation, meaning, etc. These are complicated phenomena for learners of
English. People are always confused in the case of English in some Asian countries
which are somehow different from standard English that they have learnt. So it is very
necessary to work in depth with the English varieties to help these people have an
overview and avoid confusing when facing it. The purpose of the study is to find out
what are the lexical features of some major varieties of English in Asia. The varieties
in Asia the study focuses on is getting an idea of vocabularies in Malaysian English
and Singaporean English. In addition, these items are different from the original
varieties, British English and American English or the English-speaking world at
large. In other words, this study would like to point out the differences in Malaysian
English and Singaporean English and the original varieties in terms of vocabulary.
Moreover, as stated above, Malaysian English and Singaporean English have not been
extensively studied and therefore the study is of importance in shedding a little light on
the features of Malaysian English and Singaporean English in terms of their
vocabulary. Besides, the author has been very interested in different varieties of
English for some time and the author is fascinated by the idea that a culture of a given
country can have an effect on a language which is not native to the country and
therefore also have an enormous influence on its vocabulary. The author’s interest in
Malaysian English and Singaporean English in particular is mainly due to personal
interest with the country’s culture, nature and people. In terms of Malaysian English
and Singaporean English, the author is eager to learn more about the influence of
Standard English on Malaysian English and Singaporean English. Hence, as
conducting the study will also gain more information about Malaysian English and
Singaporean English and learn more about Malaysia and Singapore culture in general
with hope the study on Malaysian English and Singaporean English is able to show
some features of the vocabulary in these countries and therefore contribute to the
knowledge of Malaysian English and Singaporean English and perhaps also to English
varieties in Asia in general. Also, the results of the study contribute to the study of
Malaysian English and Singaporean English in terms of their vocabulary. It will
provide learners and users of English with new information and can be useful for
Vietnamese people in understanding and using English varieties when working in
these Asian countries. With all these reasons, the study and entitle: ‘Lexical features of
English used in Southeast Asian countries’ is chosen and carried out.
1.2 Aims of the study
This research is conducted aiming at finding out linguistic features of some major
varieties of English in Asia such as Philippines English, Malaysian English and
Singaporean English in terms of their vocabularies, thus helping Vietnamese people to
improve their English proficiency when working in such Asian countries.
1.3 Objectives of the study
To achieve the aims mentioned-above, the following objectives are put forwards:
(1) Describing the features of vocabulary of Malaysian English and Singaporean
(2) Pointing out differences between the vocabulary of Malaysian English and
Singaporean English and Standard English;
(3) Suggesting some possible implications of Malaysian English and Singaporean
English in terms of their vocabularies for Vietnamese people working in Asian
1.4 Research questions
The study is carried out to show the following research questions:
1. What are the lexical features of Malaysian English and Singaporean English in
terms of phonological, word formation and stylistic features?
2. What are the differences among Malaysian English and Singaporean English
and Standard English in terms of lexicology?
3. What are the possible implications of Malaysian English and Singaporean
English for Vietnamese people working in Asian countries?
1.5 Methods of the study
In order to achieve the aim of the study, three methods including descriptive,
contrastive, quantitative and qualitative methods are used in analyzing lexical features
of the English used in Malaysia and Singapore:
- Descriptive method: To describe lexical features of Malaysian English and
- Quantitative and qualitative methods: analyze the data collected from various
sources printed publications as dictionaries, books, magazines, articles, etc
- Contrastive method: To find out the differences among Malaysian English and
Singaporean English and Standard English in terms of lexicology
3. 1.6 Scope of the study
1.6.1 Academic scope
Varieties of English are a very attractive field for researchers and there are many
issues related to it, however, due to the required framework of the thesis, limitation of
time and knowledge, the study just focus on linguistic features of some varieties of
English in Asia, namely Malaysian English and Singaporean English, in terms of their
vocabulary. All the rest relating to other linguistic aspects of English such as grammar,
phonology, etc. are to be left for the further researches. The study is focused on the
features of vocabulary in Singaporean English and Malaysian English. Illustrated
examples in the study are selected merely from literatures works, books and Internet.
1.6.2 Social scope
In the process of communicating in English, we recognize that people sometimes
have the difficulties in understanding or using different words of different English
varieties. So it is very necessary to work in depth with this to help people who work in
Asian countries be aware of differences in terms of vocabulary between some varieties
of English in Asia and avoid confusing when facing it.
1.7 Significance of the study
1.7.1 Theoretical significance
The study is expected to help people to know some linguistic features involved in
English varieties in general and English varieties in Asia in particular. In addition, in
this study, the writer wish to point out, describe and analyze the features in terms of
vocabulary of some major English varieties in Asian countries.
1.7.2 Practical significance
With the purpose of making a study on the linguistic features of some major varieties
of English in Asia, the study will be able to provide Vietnamese people who work in Asian
countries the features of some major varieties of English in Asia in terms of vocabulary.
This study may help them in facing with English varieties in Asia and may be a contribution
to the understanding and using English varieties to some extent.
1.8 Design of the study
With the purpose of creating an easy-understanding research, this `paper is
divided into five chapters:
Chapter 1 is Introduction presenting the rationale, the aims, the scope, the
methods, the design of the study.
Chapter 2 entitled Literature review refers to the overview of some studies on
English varieties of scholars worldwide, provides the basic knowledge about the
theory of Kachru on “Three circles of English” and pointing out some features of
English in some Asian countries.
Chapter 3 is Findings and Discussion which consists of three parts in which
describes linguistic features of English in some Asian countries. This chapter focuses
on presentation of features of vocabulary in Malaysian English and Singaporean
English; pointing out differences between the vocabulary in Malaysian English and
Singaporean English and Standard English; and then supplies some possible
implications for Vietnamese people in understanding and using English varieties as
working in these countries.
Chapter 4 is Application of Southeast Asian English in reality
Chapter 5 with the title of Conclusion is the last chapter which reviews and
emphasizes what have studied, points out the limitation of the study and provide some
suggestions which may pave the way for further research. References, Bibliography
and Appendices come at the end of the thesis.
2.1 Review of the previous study
It is universally acknowledged that English is globally accepted language as
being used first, second, third or a foreign language in most countries. The reason
behind this fact is related to colonialism in the 19 century and the spread of
technology in this century in which English is used as the language of science
worldwide for over a century. In addition, English has become the focus of attention
for many scholars worldwide. The interest in the English language no longer
concentrates only on the original varieties, British English and American English.
More and more studies are being conducted on the new varieties, especially the
post-colonial varieties of English such as Nigerian English, Singaporean English,
Indian English and Philippines English. Furthermore, the comparative studies of
different English varieties have become a major area of academic research as well. The
growing interest is partly due to the pioneering work of scholars such as Manfred
Görlach, Sidney Greenbaum and Braj Kachru. In addition, numerous books and
articles have been written describing the different varieties of English spoken around
the world today.
Studies on varieties of English have been conducted in all areas of language. As
Melchers and Shaw (2003) observe, there is variation at all levels of language in new
varieties. In other words, they differ from each other in terms of spelling, phonetics or
phonology, morphology, syntax, the lexicon and discourse. Therefore, varieties of
English have been studied in terms of their characteristic vocabulary, differences in
pronunciation and distinct features of grammar.
Usually the distinctiveness or deviation in the new varieties has been compared
to the original varieties, often to British English and American English. However, the
deviances are not treated as errors or mistakes, but instead they are recognized as
characteristic features of a particular variety. Therefore, by studying the distinct
features of new variety it has also been possible to determine them as varieties of
English in their own right. One fairly popular way of approaching and learning about a
variety is to study their lexicon. Several studies, for instance, by Dubey (1991) and
Tent (2000), have investigated and analyzed the characteristic vocabulary of a specific
variety. The lexis of some varieties, for example, Indian English, has been studied
more extensively than others and even dictionaries have been compiled of the findings.
The interest in lexis is justified because, as pointed out by Platt, Weber and Ho
(1984), a new variety of English inevitably creates a whole range of new expressions
in order to fulfill the communicative needs of the speakers. Therefore, studying lexical
items in a particular variety is likely to be rewarding as well, at least in terms of
finding those items in a variety.
A specific area of interest in the vocabulary studies are loanwords.
According to Yang (2005), borrowing in the studies of New Englishes has been
recognized as a valuable part of nativization and therefore it is also widely studied.
Moreover, as Görlach (1998) states, borrowings are the most conspicuous features
illustrating lexical innovation in a variety and therefore widely studied.
Preshous (2001) studied the lexical features of Malaysian English by analyzing
texts from several Malaysian newspapers and other sources. He observed that Malay
loanwords are frequently incorporated in the text. Furthermore, Preshous (2001)
presented words that have acquired a distinct meaning in Malaysian English compared
to other Englishes.
In sum, Englishes have used very similar strategies when forming the
lexis of the new variety and a significant number of new words have been incorporated
into the lexis of new varieties. This suggests that the vocabulary of the original
varieties, British English and American English, has not been adequate for the people
to express themselves in their new socio-cultural environments.
2.2 Review of theoretical background
2.2 An overview of World Englishes
Many models on World Englishes have been posited by scholars in the past
twenty years (e.g. Kachru, 1992; McArthur,1998; Schneider, 2003 & 2007). The most
influential model of the spread of English is Kachru’s model of World Englishes. The
theory of Kachru “Three circles of English” is chosen for theoretical framework of this
thesis. In this model the diffusion of English is captured in terms of three Concentric
Circles of the language: The Inner Circle, the Outer Circle, and the Expanding Circle.
Kachru’s (1985) pioneering model for world English spread and usage has been
widely used as a framework for the study of World Englishes. His idea was that the
spread of English could “be viewed in terms of three concentric circles representing
the types of spread, the patterns of acquisition and the functional domains in which
English is used across cultures and languages”.
Kachru’s Model of World Englishes (1997) argued that new models for the
teaching of English relevant to linguistic input, methodology, norms and identity have
been proposed to explain and imply the spread and diffusion of English as a global
language diversified in several nativized dialects known as world Englishes.
Figure 2.2.1: Three concentric Circles of English- Kachru (1997)
Firstly, according to this model, the Inner Circle refers to the traditional bases of
English as the primary language; The Inner Circle refers to native-English-speaking
countries such as the UK, North America, New Zealand and Australia, who use
English as their primary language. These are norm providing, or in other words,
Secondly, the Outer Circle represents the spread of English in nonnative
contexts, where it has been institutionalized as an additional language. The Outer
Circle is made up of post-colonial countries in which English, though not the mother
tongue, has for a significant period of time played an important role in education,
governance, and popular culture. The Outer Circle includes those countries where
English was spread as a second language through colonization, e.g. India, Nigeria,
Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Here English has official status and
functions. It has already undergone some acculturation and nativization, and there is a
creative literature written in the local variety of English, hence these are termed normdeveloping countries.
Thirdly, the Expanding Circle, with a steady increase in the number of speakers
and functional domains, includes nations where English is used primarily as a foreign
language. The Expanding Circle refers to those nations where English has the status of
a foreign language, such as China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Egypt and Korea. These
are norm-dependent, or exocentric, generally looking to “StE” for their norms. The use
of English in these societies is generally restricted to limited domains such as science
Consequently, Kachru’s three concentric circles model of English have been
accepted as a standard ontology for defining and categorizing world Englishes into
Inner Circle (native), Outer Circle (ESL) and Expanding Circle (EFL) varieties. The
diffusion of English and the resultant varieties induce cross cultural and cross
linguistic universalization of the English language in a cause and effect cycle. Kachru
(1997) argued that new models for the teaching of English relevant to linguistic input,
methodology, norms and identity have been proposed to explain and imply the spread
and diffusion of English as a global language diversified in several nativized dialects
known as world Englishes.
In replacing the original English as a native language (ENL), English as a second
language (ESL) and English as a foreign language (EFL) terminology with the
concepts in his model, Kachru emphasizes that English belongs to all who use it; that
“norms and standards should no longer be determined [solely] by Inner Circle/ENL
It acknowledges a growing pluricentrality (Foley, 1988), hence coinage of the
new plural term ‘Englishes’. Recently there has been some criticism of Kachru’s
model, as it cannot be used as a precise tool for classification. For instance, some areas
have both Inner Circle and Outer Circle populations, such as South Africa, while the
line between Outer and Expanding Circles is not always clear.
2.2.1 Terms of varieties of English
The terminology within the literature is highly controversial. Some authors prefer
the term dialect; others prefer the term variety or variation. In this paper the term
variety and varieties in the plural is used, because it is less stigmatized. As the
terminology is so controversial, it is very difficult to find an appropriate definition for
the term variety, and impossible to find a universal one. Bauer (2002) defines variety
as an academic term used for any kind of language production, whether we are
viewing it as being determined by region, by gender, by social class, by age or by our
own inimitable individual characteristics.
Varieties of English are the different kinds of English used around the world.
Often these are geographically based. The varieties are more or less similar and while
most English speakers can understand each other, there are occasional problems. A
standard variety exists from which other varieties are distinguished. British English
originating in south-east England is what is regarded as the StE which is promoted in
schools and is expected to be used by broadcasters and officials.
The status of being the standard arises not from linguistic perfection, but from
the social, economic and political context in which it is used. This variety is codified
in dictionaries, style books and grammars and hence, people think this variety should
be used in formal settings. This leads to the fact that the standard variety is associated
with education, higher social and income groups and the greatest prestige (Burridge &
Mulder, 1998). StE is one variety of modern English, alongside a wide range of
nonstandard varieties. StE may be distinguished from non-standard varieties according
to a relatively small number of linguistic features, exemplified in the following
Non – standard
I was, we were
I/we was or I/we were
The house that Bill built
The house what/as Bill built
He did it
He done it
He came yesterday
He come yesterday (
Nobody said anything
Nobody said nothing
He ran really quickly
He ran real quick
I didn’t break it
I never broke it
He hasn’t finished
He ain’t finished
Almost all these differences consist of alternative ways of expressing the same
meaning, and in almost every case the differences are linguistically trivial and show no
communicative advantage either for standard or for nonstandard. For example, the
sentences “He ain't done nothing” and “He hasn't done anything” are different ways
of expressing the same meaning, each of which follows a clear set of grammatical
principles. It is not the case that non-standard shows worse logic or less care in
speaking, any more than this would be true of French.
English and French are very different linguistic systems, and similarly, standard
and non-standard varieties of English are slightly different linguistic systems.
In discussing language variation, it is conventional to distinguish between dialects
(varieties that differ in terms of pronunciation, grammar, lexis, semantics) and accents
(varieties that differ just in terms of pronunciation).
According to this distinction, StE is a dialect that may be spoken in a range of
accents, including Received Pronunciation (RP) and regional accents. A distinction
may also be made between standard or nonstandard varieties which based on the social
and regional background of speakers and registers, associated with particular contexts
of use, for example, the language of law, education and casual chat between friends.
There is, however, a relationship between these different dimensions of
variation, in that StE is commonly associated with more formal registers such as those
of law and education though it also has a range of casual registers like any other
dialect. While it is possible to identify some linguistic characteristics of standard and
non-standard varieties of English, as in the list above, the relationship between these
varieties is more complex than the list suggests:
• While some non-standard features are widespread, for example, “Nobody said
nothing”, or “He ran real quick”, many are local so they vary from place to place, for
example, “We had us tea”- us for standard our, this found in Yorkshire, Central and
East Lancashire and parts of the East Midlands
• Equally important is the regional variation in StE, with small but recognizable
differences even between England/Wales and Scotland for example, standard Scottish
English “That mustn’t be true” meaning the same as StE “That may not be true”.
Differences within StE also occur because informal StE is different from formal writing.
• Forms such as “between you and I”, which are hard to classify as
either standard or non-standard.
• There are also considerable overlaps between varieties because differences
between standard and nonstandard varieties are relatively small.
• All varieties, including StE, change over time (e.g. the older “Have you any
children?” is giving way to “Have you got any children?” or “Do you have any
• Individual speakers vary in the way they use language, and may also
shift between varieties for stylistic effect. Varieties of language, therefore, do not exist
as discrete, fixed, unified entities, and indeed ‘StE’ may be better regarded
linguistically as an idealization. Varieties of English is also a widely used term, which
emphasizes the subdivisions of the English language.
According to McArthur (2003), it is considered a safe term, because it allows
language scholars to be less specific about the kind of speech and usage whereas
dialect would require more specific social distinctions. Furthermore, the term dialect
fails when English as a world language is discussed. It is totally inadequate, for
instance, when referring to African-American English and Spanglish, a hybrid of
Spanish and English.
The reason for this is that the traditional dialect criterion of regionality cannot be
applied to these two cases; both ‘Englishes’ are spoken in various parts of the United
States and therefore do not refer to just one particular region. Researchers have come
up with different terms of referring to the many varieties of English spoken in the
world today. Braj Kachru introduced the term World Englishes in the 1970s and in
1985 World Englishes became the name of a journal which was founded and is coedited by Braj Kachru. Kachru points out that the concept of World Englishes includes
both native and non-native languages and it belongs equally to everyone who uses it.
Around the same time Kachru categorized these Englishes according to their uses into
three circles: inner, outer and the expanding circle.
The inner circle includes countries such as Great Britain, Canada and New
Zealand, where English is the first language of the people. The outer circle includes
countries where English is an official language and has an extended range of uses, for
instance, in education. The expanding circle consists of countries where English is
learned as a foreign language. Platt, Weber and Ho (1984) introduce another term to
refer to different Englishes, which is New Variety. This term, as defined by them,
suggests that there are somewhat recognizable varieties spoken and written by groups
of people in the world.
However, not all speakers of English always speak a New English. Schneider
(1997) emphasizes that this term is generally used when referring to post-colonial
varieties as spoken in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. These
New Englishes include, for instance, Philippines English, Singaporean English,
Nigerian English and Sri Lankan English.
However, Platt, Weber and Ho (1984) remind that it is difficult to define this
term and that there are always borderline cases that do not neatly fit into categories.
According to Gunnel Melchers and Philip Shaw (2003), “the varieties
of English spoken in outer circle countries have been called New Englishes” but the
term is controversial. Singh (1998) and Muwee (2000) argue that it is meaningless, in
so far as no linguistic characteristic is common to all and only New Englishes and all
varieties are recreated by children from a mixed pool of features, so all are 'new' in
every generation. These points are certainly true, and it is important to avoid
suggesting that the new varieties are inferior to the old ones. Nevertheless, the
Englishes of India, Nigeria, and Singapore and many other outer-circle countries do
share a number of superficial linguistic characteristics which, taken together, make it
convenient to describe them as a group separately from America, British, Australian,
New Zealand, and many other varieties.
The spread of English can be viewed in terms of the “old Englishes”,
the “new Englishes” and English as a foreign language variety. Apart from “old
Englishes” and English as a foreign language variety, the new Englishes, on the other
hand, have two major features, in that English is only one of two or more codes in the
linguistic repertoire and that it has acquired an important status in the language of such
Also in functional terms the “new Englishes” have extended their functional
range in a variety of social, educational, administrative, and literary domains in India,
Malaysia and Singapore would be examples of countries with 'new Englishes’. The
definitions of terms given above all define the English language which is used around
the world in slightly different ways. For instance, world Englishes, the term introduced
by Braj Kachru includes, both native and nonnative varieties, whereas New English
emphasizes the post-colonial varieties spoken, for example, in the Caribbean, Africa
and Asia. For these slight difference in meaning of terms. The term “New English” or
the plural form, are used when referring to Indian English, Malaysian English and
Singaporean English or Standard Indian English, Malaysian English and Singaporean
English or to the other varieties of English spoken in Asia or other parts of the world;
also, the term “Standard English”, “Original Variety” or “Original Varieties” for
English in British and America are used in the thesis. These terms are thought to best
fit the particular context.
2.2.2 Some general features of English in Asia
Over the past fifty years, the English language has come to play an increasingly
important role within the Asian region. In societies such as Philippines, Malaysia, and
Singapore, English serves many functions within these societies as a co-official language
in such domains as government, law and education. Over recent decades, however, the
importance of English has changed even in these societies, as a result of educational,
economic and cultural forces linked to globalization. Asia is geographically an extremely
large area with dozens of different nations. Melchers and Shaw (2003) state that there are
several hundred languages spoken in South Asia, however, many of them by very small
numbers. The dominant languages are Indo-Aryan which are related to Hindi and Urdu
in the north, Dravidian languages such as Tamil in the south, and English as an excolonial language in most areas. Thus, English has a major role in Asia and it is used
in many different areas of life. Moreover, as McArthur (2003) notes, Asia is different
from other major continents in terms of English speakers, because it has no large
population of native English speakers. On the other hand, as Qiong (2004) points out,
there are 350 million English users in Asia, which more or less adds up to the same
number if the population of the United States, Canada and Britain are combined. This,
therefore, is no small number and should not be overlooked. The countries of Asia
have a long history with English because several of them have been part of the British
Empire and even the United States. Furthermore, Kachru (1994) adds that originally
the English language was introduced to Asia over two centuries ago. It states that
English is used to communicate both within a nation and between nations in Asia;
English, thus, has become a popular link language between different language groups.
For instance, people in Southern India prefer English to Hindi in intra national
communication. In other words, English has become the international and intra
national language of the countries in Asia. Moreover, McArthur (2003) states that
English spoken in Asia is a language in its own right; in other words, it has been
thoroughly indigenized. According to Kachru (1996), the English language has thus
established a position in these countries and developed new models and norms. Asia
provides an integrated profile of English within the ‘concentric circles’ model of the
spread of English. This model is said to be more dynamic model than the standard
version, and allows for all manner of shadings and overlaps among the circles. The
‘inner circle’ is represented by Australia and New Zealand, where English functions
primarily as a first language. The ‘outer circle’ is represented by, for example, India,
Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, where English is used as an institutionalized
additional language; and the ‘expanding circle’ is represented by, for example, China,
Thailand, Taiwan, and Korea, where English is used primarily as a foreign language.
All three circles of English present in Asia have certain shared features such as all the
varieties are transplanted varieties and these varieties comprise the formal and
functional distinctiveness of the various varieties of English. By and large the Asian
Englishes are separate from one another. The term ‘Asian Englishes’ would seem to
imply a degree of unity among the varieties of English which it refers to. Many of the
linguistic features listed below occur in some specific Asian Englishes.
2.3 Theory of linguistics
2.3.1 Lexical features
Lexicology is a branch of linguistics, the science of language. The term
“Lexicology” is composed of two Greek morphemes: lexis meaning “word, phrase”
and logos which denotes “learning, a department of knowledge”. Thus, the literal
meaning of the term Lexicology is the science of the word”. The literal meaning,
however, gives only a general notion of the aims and the subject matter of this branch
of linguistic science, since all its other branches also take account of words in one way
or another approaching them from different angles. Phonetics, for instance,
investigating the phonetic structure of language, its system of phonemes and intonation
patterns, is concerned with the study of the outer sound form of word. Grammar,
which is inseparably bound up with the lexicology, is the study of the grammatical
structure of language. It is concerned with the various means of expressing
grammatical relations between words and the patterns after which words are combined
into word groups and sentences.
Lexicology as a branch of linguistics has its own aims and methods of scientific
research, its basic task being a study and systematic description of vocabulary in
respect to its origin, development and current use. Lexicology is concerned with