Theorising English and globalisation: semiodiversity and linguistic structure in Global English, World Englishes and Lingua Franca English

Allan James

globalisation, global englishes, world englishes, lingua franca english, semiodiversity


Linguistic and applied linguistic approaches to English in a globalising/globalised world have rarely made connection with theories of language and globalisation in general (Jacquemet 2005; Bruthiaux 2008; Mufwene 2008) and least of all to the mainstream theories of globalisation of the economic, political and social sciences and cultural studies (Held, McGrew et al. 1999). By contrast, it is argued in the present article that a closer look at the globalising development of English in terms of the ‘semiodiversity’ (Halliday 2002) it expresses through the major varieties of ‘register’ (use), ‘dialect’ (user) and ‘genre’ (using) which are directly expounded by lexicosemantic, lexicophonological and lexicogrammatical levels of structure, respectively, allows us to see how these linguistic function-structure complexes themselves define a typology of globalising Englishes of Global English, World Englishes and Lingua Franca English, again respectively. In turn these Englishes manifest the ‘global’, ‘local’ and ‘glocal’ dimensions of the economic, political, social and cultural processes associated with the ‘hyperglobalizers’, ‘sceptics’ and ‘transformationalists’ of mainstream globalisation thinking, also respectively. As such, it is argued that this multiple set of co-defined core concepts of a mutually informing globalisation theory and linguistic theory lends itself well as the foundation of a more comprehensive and adequate sociolinguistic understanding of English in the world of the new millennium, one which can inform applied linguistic practices worldwide more substantially than has been hitherto the case.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies