The Need to Teach Our Own English

(Posting on the need to teach our own English; fraction of a presentation paper; by one NEB)

Antoni and Gunawan (2005) assert that EFL learners will not necessarily or expectedly come into contact with their American counterparts. They will only get to use their English with their teachers, and friends within their own community (be it their school, society, and country), the farthest being region, or world, but not necessarily America. To quote Li, the assumption that teaching English should go with teaching the Anglo-American sociolinguistic norms governing the language use “…has been increasingly called into doubt, especially by advocates of New Varieties of English (NVEs, cf. D’souza 1997, Kachru 1989a). The main argument is that, given that NVEs are typically learned and used in local and neighboring communities, there is really no room for Anglo-Americanism, a point already asserted by Kachru (1976) well over two decades ago…” (1999: 2). Honna and Takeshita (1995) assert that, thus, many people in the world are learning English not to assimilate themselves to the Anglo-American norms of behavior, but to acquire a working command of the language of wider communication and whereby to express their national identity and personal opinions. In other words, no one is forced to abandon his or her native culture and behave Anglo-American in order to acquire proficiency in English.

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