2013 EIL Lecture by Prof. Andy Kirkpatrick

World Englishes and Local Cultures

Professor Andy Kirkpatrick (Griffith University)


The precise relationship between language and culture is complex and has been the subject of great debate.  It is agreed, however, that language and culture are somehow interlinked and that language, in some way, reflects the cultural values and pragmatic norms of its speakers.

The development of world Englishes provides an opportunity to study the inter-relationship between language and culture in a systematic way.  For, in order adequately to reflect and represent the cultures of their speakers, new varieties of English must deculturate themselves from traditional ‘inner circle’ or ‘Anglo’ Englishes while, at the same time, acculturating themselves. They can do this in several ways. For example, they can adopt and adapt words from local languages which identify and describe local phenomena; they can revise and alter the meaning of words borrowed from traditional varieties of English; they can reflect local speech styles through the new variety of English; and they can represent local and rhetorical and pragmatic norms in the new variety of English. New literatures in English provide examples of these forms of acculturation.

In this presentation, the current debate over the deculturation and acculturation processes of world Englishes will be reviewed.  In particular, current views over whether new varieties of English can be ‘stretched’ and ‘adapted’ or whether they lead to some form of ‘psychological amputation’ will be critiqued. The ways that users of new varieties of English have been able to shape world Englishes in order that they adequately reflect the users’ own cultural values and rhetorical norms will then be considered. Examples of acculturation will be drawn from a range of world Englishes, including Australian, Australian Aboriginal English and from a selection of varieties of English from Asia and Africa.

About Professor Andy Kirkpatrick:

Andy Kirkpatrick is Professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University. His most recent books include English as an International Language in Asia (co-edited with Roland Sussex, Springer 2012) and Chinese Rhetoric and Writing, co-authored with Xu Zhichang (Parlor press 2012). He is founding and chief editor of the book series Multilingual Education and of the journal of the same name, both with Springer. He is also Director of the Asian Corpus of English (ACE) project.

Time and Venue

30th August, 2013, 11:00-12:30

JSC Auditorium, G17, Building 54, Clayton Campus, Monash University

RSVP: zhichang.xu@monash.edu