Which English to teach?

Hohsung Choe, Seongyong Lee

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The question of which English to teach has been an issue since the late-20th-century advent of the world Englishes (WE) paradigm. In the early 1990s, Quirk and Kachru conducted one of the most significant debates about this controversial issue in applied linguistics. Quirk (1990) argued that only standard native varieties that have no grammar deviations and adhere to mainstream vocabulary usage should be taught in order to counter the contamination of English resulting from tolerance of variations, observing that he was 'not aware of there being any institutionalized nonnative varieties' (p. 6). In contrast, Kachru (1991) argued that language variation due to language contact is a common sociolinguistic phenomenon, so Outer Circle varieties are not substandard or deficit languages. Therefore, he contended, traditional notions of standardization are no longer acceptable. He recommended that multiple localized varieties should be taught in Outer Circle contexts because they reflect learners' linguistic and cultural identity. In relation to Kachru's argument, English as a lingua franca (ELF) has developed as a recent paradigm in TESOL. Kirkpatrick (2012) has argued that a lingua franca approach to English language teaching (ELT) helps prepare learners to use the language successfully in multilingual settings like ASEAN countries, where English functions as a lingua franca. In these settings, the teaching of ELF, in which speakers retain their own grammatical forms, phonological features, and pragmatic norms, needs to be promoted (Kirkpatrick 2011; Kirkpatrick, Subhan & Walkinshaw, 2016).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-75
Number of pages6
JournalEnglish Today
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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