Prescriptivism, Creativity, and World Englishes

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ABSTRACT: Relatively recently, Quirk (1990) discussed non‐native varieties of English, such as Indian English and Nigerian English, as ‘locally acquired deviations from the standard language’ and argued that the standard (British) English is the only pedagogically acceptable model for teaching of English in these non‐native contexts. This paper, first critiques some fundamental assumptions of Quirk's (1990) argument by presenting the logic of Indian English and then discusses the implications of using world Englishes as pedagogical models in the classroom. The main argument of this paper is that successful English language teaching in normative contexts must address the relationship between the forms that English manifests and its speakers’ perception of reality and the nature of their cultural institutions. Implicit in this argument is the premise that language use is constrained both by the ‘grammar of culture’(Bright, 1968; D'souza, 1988) and ‘cognitive economy’(Sridhar, 1992; Hancin‐Bhatt and Bhatt, 1992). Selected aspects of phonology and syntax of Indian English are discussed to develop the argument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-259
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Englishes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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