Problematizing the linguistic goal in English language curricula

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The linguistic goal in English language curricula has been debated in the last
fifty years. In particular, the idea the learning English means approximating the
linguistic behaviour of the ‘native speakers’ of the language, a central point in
mainstream research in second language acquisition, has been repeatedly and
forcefully challenged in sociolinguistics. This critique has taken place in three
interrelated ‘waves’. First, in the 1980s and the 1990s the World Englishes
paradigm highlighted the importance of local varieties of English as legitimate
pedagogic goals. Subsequently, and as a development of the World Englishes
school of thought, a number of scholars underlined the significant role that
English plays as a lingua franca in international communication among people
for whom it is an additional language. More recently, a multilingual ‘turn’ in
sociolinguistics has challenged traditional boundaries between languages and has
reframed language learning as a process of enriching one’s existing linguistic
repertoire. This chapter provides an overview of these developments, all of which
call for a paradigm shift in the teaching of English in the world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecond Handbook of English Language Teaching
EditorsXuesong Gao
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-02899-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-02897-8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameSpringer International Handbooks of Education
ISSN (Print)2197-1951


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