English is now widely agreed to be the Lingua Franca. But this term has traditionally been viewed as a language of low level, whereas English is a complex language whose ‘countless clearly-distinguishable varieties’ (Robert W. Burchfield, 1986) ranging from large, societal and scientific studies through to a number of the most criticised, colloquial forms.
What is the Lingua Franca?
The definition of Lingua Franca as found in the Collins Dictionary is 1. A language used for communication among people of different mother tongues, too. Any method of communication providing mutual understanding.
What’s the approved and most sought-after type of English?
Standard English (SE), The Queens English, British Standard English (BrSE) or American Standard English (AmSE), as became popular during the Second World War, Australian, Canadian or Philippines Standard English? In fact, it has many forms, and we have yet to agree on the most ‘correct’ if ever there was one.
What varieties of English exist?
The notion of a single supranational standard to which both UK and US standards exist have at least four titles, and have been around rather vaguely for a while. They are:
World/World English(WE) – Teaching English as a world language in all of its varieties, including traits from countries including New Zealand and Australia.
World Standard English (WSE) – A standard of English used globally.
International or International English (IE) – The English Language in its Lingua Franca Form when taken as a whole (BrE, AmE, AusE, etc)
International Standard English (ISE) – A standard of English used globally. The expression has two related senses: (1) The sum-total of all normal English usage globally, but with specific reference to the standards of AmE, BrE, and more AusE and other varieties with such works of reference as grammars, dictionaries, and style guides (2) Standard utilization that draws on, and might blend with, such sources, but includes a transnational identity of its own, particularly in print globally and in the use of these organizations as the United Nations.
There are also many different worldwide speech patterns that make it tough to conceive of a unified spoken benchmark for world English, and it is tough to know what to teach as a model. In certain high-level classes like First Certificate, my students are subjected to accents and speech patterns from a number of areas and countries.