This essay is an overview of the theoretical, methodological, pedagogical, ideological, and power-related issues of world Englishes: varieties of English used in diverse sociolinguistic contexts. The scholars in this field have critically examined theoretical and methodological frameworks of language use based on western, essentially monolingual and monocultural, frameworks of linguistic science and replaced them with frameworks that are faithful to multilingualism and language variation. This conceptual shift affords a "pluricentric" view of English, which represents diverse sociolinguistic histories, multicultural identities, multiple norms of use and acquisition, and distinct contexts of function. The implications of this shift for learning and teaching world Englishes are critically reviewed in the final sections of this essay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-550
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
StatePublished - 2001


  • English language studies
  • Language change
  • Language contact
  • Language spread
  • Language variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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