English Today

Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Online ISSN: 1474-0567
Print ISSN: 0266-0784
Review of McCully, Chris. 2009. The Sound Structure of English: An Introduction (Cambridge Introductions to the English Language) 264. pp Hardback 978 0 521 85036 0, UK £45, US $90; Paperback 978 0 521 61549 5, UK £15.99, US $32.99; Adobe eBook Reader 978 0 511 51258 2, $26
Data sources Number of persons over 312 45 stream: 38 involved grass: 61
Words for 'stream'  
Responses north and south of the SED line (either response on the boundary line classed as congruent)
A report on two prominent dialectal variables in England. Using rather informally collected data, The author looks here at two well-known variables in the English of England: first, whether there is a short or long vowel in words such as grass and bath; second, what regional words people know for streams. The treatment of these variables is consistent over time, and seems to have little to do with social status or carefulness of speech.
A discussion of language choices in a multilingual region of Malaysia. Sarawak is a Malaysian state located on the island of Borneo. More than 20 languages are spoken there among only 1.99 million people in Sarawak. People who visit Sarawak for the first time are often baffled and intrigued by the diversity of languages and the ease with which Sarawakians switch between them. To add to the complexity of language choice, there is also some competition between English and Standard Malay for dominance in language use. This paper considers the reasons for the complex language scenario in Sarawak, the social implications of language choices, and the important personal characteristics to consider in making language choices.
A report on German university students learning and working in English. WHEN A student produces a sentences like “I learn English since ten years” it can be assumed that they haven't had a very good English teacher, that they may not, in fact, be very good in English despite the amount of time they've spent learning the language. However, some of my students may indeed produce a sentence like this. In the English Department of the Freie Universität in Berlin, I teach students who have already studied English for at least ten years by the time they enter university. And in order to study in our department, the students must pass a proficiency-level entrance exam. These students then have English as one of their major subjects, so their knowledge of the language is fairly sophisticated and their contact with the language regular.
Noteworthy dictionaries and their websites 
A corpus-linked Business Lexicon <>  
DOI:10.1017/S0266078405003044 An update on the world's newest lexicographical services. The computer and the Internet have become indispensable to the lives of educated people. As a result, ways of obtaining information have greatly changed. The readership of the printed media appears to have been gradually decreasing, something that may also happen with dictionaries. It has for example been noted that three mediums for dictionaries — paper, electronic gadgets, and the Internet — are now about equally popular with students. Gone therefore are the days when paper dictionaries dominated the reference world. For example, more than 70% of students interviewed at Hong Kong Polytechnic University claim that they use e-dictionaries more often than the traditional bulky paper products: among them, the most 'bookmarked' is the online version of the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Online dictionaries are now therefore the main force in word reference.
A discussion of the variety of labels given to the language in its worldwide role. In his article ‘Is it world or international or global English, and does it matter?’ (ET79, Jul 04), Tom McArthur welcomes further comment on the names of English in a ‘globalizing world’. He examines the histories and meanings of the three most popular labels for English: world, international and global. In addition to discussing his contribution, I would like to draw attention to other, perhaps less familiar names for English that have been proposed as alternatives. This paper seeks both to survey these labels and uncover why there is such a strong compulsion to rename the language. I suggest that these proposals have arisen in response to postcolonial ambiguity about the spread of English and a desire to shape a new ideology for English language teaching (ELT) which more accurately reflects the global nature of the language and its diverse uses and users.
THE LIFE of a language involves relationships between linguistic elements and extra-linguistic contexts. The linguistic elements are varied and multiple, involving both written and spoken symbols and grammars, while the extra-linguistic contexts are the innumerable societies, cultures, and sub-cultures of humankind, including its worlds of reality, imagination, and ideology. This article discusses invented languages, partly in order to explore the motivations and schemes of their inventors and partly to compare languages created for international use (often called international auxiliary languages or IALs) with English, which itself functions as an IAL but is very much an uninvented language.
These notes are largely based on Lodge (2009), and the IPA transcriptions on Wells (2000). Michael Bulley has singled out for discussion one variant in the articulation of the /r/ phoneme in British English which he characterises as ‘w-for-r’, ‘close to /w/, but distinct from it’ (Bulley, 2014: 46). The focus is on /r/ in syllable-initial position, including /r/ in initial consonant clusters. He describes this particular, not to say singular, variant as ‘/w/-like’, which begs a number of questions.
Whereas the influence of English in form of Anglicisms has attracted considerable attention, little has been written on how English is interacting with autochthonous word-formation processes in modern languages. The present paper attempts to shed some light on a phenomenon that has been very recently attested in Spanish: the coinage of blend words involving overlap and combination of material from both English and the recipient language (in this case Spanish). I argue that these ad hoc words give us important insights into the state and status of English in what Kachru (1982) called the ‘Expanding Circle’.
Performing linguistic variation in the Caribbean - Guyanne Wilson, The Sociolinguistics of Singing: Dialect and Style in Classical Choral Singing in Trinidad. Münster: MV Wissenschaft, 2014. Pp. ix + 376. Paperback $27, ISBN 978-3-8405-0101-2 - Michael Westphal, Language Variation on Jamaican Radio. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2017. Pp. xvi + 257. Hardcover $158, ISBN 978-90-272-4920-3 - Beke Hansen
Discovering African English through corpora - Esimaje Alexandra, Ulrike Gut & Bassey Antia (eds.), Corpus Linguistics and African Englishes. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2019. Pp. ix + 403. Hardback $149, ISBN: 978 90 272 02192 - Alfred Buregeya
The English Language in the Digital Age - Irma Taavitsainen, Merja Kytö, Claudia Claridge & Jeremy Smith (eds.), Developments in English: Expanding Electronic Evidence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Pp. xxiii + 299. Hardback £65, ISBN 978-1-107-03850-9. - Yanhua Cheng
Studying digital texts and practices - David Barton and Carmen Lee , Language Online. Investigating Digital Texts and Practices. London: Routledge, 2013, Pp. x + 208. Paperback US$39.95, ISBN: 978-04155-24957. - Wenjun Zhang
An overview of research on the pedagogy of English as an international language - Roby Marlina & Ram Ashish Giri, The Pedagogy of English as an International Language: Perspectives from Scholars, Teachers and Students. Switzerland: Springer, 2014. Pp. 265. Paperback $112.65, ISBN 9783-3-319-06126-9 - Seyedeh Hamideh Mozaffari
How do people choose a language when they are proficient in more than one language? This research sheds light on language choice, English use in particular, in diplomacy where an individual speaks primarily for negotiation on behalf of an organization or a community. Nick (2001: 39) argued that ‘language is not a simple tool … but very often the very essence of the diplomatic vocation’. Despite its importance, little has been investigated about language choice in diplomatic meetings (Finsen, 2016). Wodak, Krzyzanowski and Forchtner (2012), one of the few studies, illustrated that 45% of the overall percentage of languages in the European Parliament (EP) meetings was English. To accumulate more data of English use in diplomacy, this research investigated addresses made by the heads of state at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA). The EP is the law-making institution of the European Union (EN) (European Union, 2019), and the UN and the EU have contrasting language policies. Under the EU's non-restrictive language policy, national languages of all 23 members are included in the official languages (Finsen, 2016). On the other hand, the UN restricts the number of official languages to six, namely Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. This makes a difference in the payment for interpretation services. If representatives would like to speak in Portuguese, the EU provides interpretation. However, the UN does not. The speakers need to provide interpretation into one of the six official languages on their own. These contrasting language policies between the EU and the UN can influence language choice at the UN meetings. Moreover, the UN has a larger number of member states than the EU, and many of them belong to other language or regional organizations. Therefore, this study focuses on the prevalence of English use by the heads of state at the UN GA meetings according to five language and two regional groups.
This paper is focused on basic English language knowledge and skills by looking at the circumstances in which English indefinite article, either ‘a’ or ‘an’, is selectively used with authentic examples cited from a few widely read Australian newspapers. Three fundamental elements of a language consist of its pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar in language teaching terms (phonetics, lexicology and syntax are respectively used in linguistic terms). These terms are used in this discussion which is oriented to general ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) users. The fact is that most of them tend to pay less attention to pronunciation than to vocabulary or grammar, and approach these fundamental language elements in isolation rather than reflect on their connections. To address this issue, the author shows that pronunciation and grammar are connected and that it is important to get back to basics in language learning through investigating distinctions between two indefinite articles. There are four reasons for this investigation. First, examination of their distinctions in context crosses over the knowledge boundary between pronunciation and grammar. Making connection and association between the two language elements helps ESL/EFL learners develop analytical skills and enables reflective learning experience (Brockbank & McGill, 2007).
Retrospection and expectation - Will Baker , Culture and Identity through English as a Lingua Franca. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2015. Pp. viii + 284. Hardback £74.99, ISBN 978-1-5015-1062-5 - Jihong Wu
This study investigated whether and how pre-adolescent girls style-shift in Multicultural London English (MLE), a variety of English that is relatively new and potentially still changing. We looked at the extent to which five 11-year-old girls in a homework club in East London, where MLE is spoken, changed their pronunciations in different speech contexts. The results showed that the girls did indeed change their pronunciations in the different contexts (i.e. they style-shifted), and that the patterns of style-shifting varied between both the individual participants and the three vowels which were examined.
Dialectology with more sophisticated methods - Jack Grieve , Regional Variation in Written American English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Pp. xviii + 335. Hardback $110.00, ISBN: 9781107032477. - Ying Zhang, Lei Lei
The centrality of creativity: A new perspective on English language teaching - Alan Maley & Tamas Kiss, Creativity and English Language Teaching: From Inspiration to Implementation. London: Palgrave Macmillan U.K., 2018. Pp. xx + 339. Hardback $119.99, ISBN 978-1-137-46728-7 - Jie Hu, Yueer Wei
The power in language - Norman Fairclough , Language and Power. (3rd edn.) London: Routledge, 2015. Pp. 264. Paperback £30.99, ISBN: 978-1-13-879097-1. - Simone Bacchini
The interaction between participant and argument roles
Grammarians and teachers would admit that modality is one of the most difficult areas to deal with in English grammar, and it is particularly difficult for learners of English to master this area of grammar. Modality can be achieved by different means (see, for example, Huddleston & Pullum, 2002; Lyons, 1977; Quirk et al., 1985). The following examples illustrate modality by the use of words of various categories: (1) Maybe you are right. (2) You may be right. (3) I think you are right. (4) I am certain you are right.
A comprehensive overview of English as a lingua franca research - Jennifer Jenkins, Will Baker & Martin Dewey, The Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca. London & New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. xix + 620. Hardback £165/$240, ISBN 978-1-13885-532-8. - Volume 35 Issue 4 - Guangting Wu
Mor dhan ə noosins: English orthography kills literacy and we have a duty to reform it - Robbins Burling , Spellbound: Untangling English Spelling. Sheffield: Equinox, 2016. Pp.186. Hardback £60, ISBN: 139781781791301 - Adam Dedmon
Practices versus perceptions of English use in multicultural communications - Niina Hynninen , Language Regulation in English as a Lingua Franca. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2016. Pp. ix + 317. Hardback $140, ISBN 9781614517689 - Xue Wu, Lei Lei
And then there were many: How no English became one English, and then many - Elena Seoane and Cristina Suárez-Gómez (eds.), World Englishes: New Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1985. Pp. viii + 285. Hardback $143, ISBN: 978-9-9027-2491-73. - Volume 33 Issue 3 - Simone Bacchini
Exploring idiomatic creativity in English as a global language - Pitzl Marie-Luise, Creativity in English as a Lingua Franca: Idiom and Metaphor. Boston: Mouton De Gruyter, 2018. Pp. xiii + 288. Hardback £91.00, ISBN 978-1-5015-1688-7 - Yi Guo
In a 2016 article published in this journal (Roig–Marín, 2016), I argued that the coinage of cyber-blends reflects our blended digital/physical relationships in today's world. The current pandemic has put a halt to our everyday lives and all forms of physical contact, and so technologies and digital experiences now play a more conspicuous role than ever. We have gone online and got used to vocabulary whose usage prior to COVID-19 was very limited (e.g. quarantine and pandemic ) or known to very few ( coronavirus, super-spreader , or the abbreviations PPE ‘personal protective equipment’ or WFH ‘working from home’), while coming to terms with the implications of others such as self-isolation , lockdown , or social distancing (which should be better called physical distancing as social closeness, albeit non-physically, is very much needed to get through these difficult times). Short pieces on coroneologisms have attested to the rise of many new lexical formations, mostly blends. According to Thorne (2020; also cited in CBC , 2020), more than 1,000 new words – both non-specialised and technical terminology – have been created during the current pandemic. Journalists and Twitter users are particularly prone to coin words displaying a high level of linguistic ingenuity; yet, the circulation of that lexis may be very limited. The present note overviews some of the most widely spread vocabulary related to our new COVID-19 reality, coming from the laity rather than from medical or scientific professionals. Alongside terms like social distancing and lockdown , less technical and more playful vocabulary has transcended linguistic boundaries. Particular attention will be paid to examples from European languages whose word-stocks share a common Latinate substratum, likewise central to scientific communication.
While there are numerous investigations of the impact of English on Spanish vocabulary, the opposite direction of lexical borrowing has as yet received fairly little attention. Spanish-derived words and meanings which have been taken over into English in the last few decades have been relatively neglected. The present article gives essential insight into the influence of Spanish on the English lexicon since 1901. I assign the different twentieth and twenty-first century Spanish borrowings to various lexical domains in order to offer an overview of the subject areas and fields of life to which Spanish has added new words and senses in recent times.
What would Defoe do? - David Mallows (ed.), Innovations in English Language Teaching for Migrants and Refugees. London: British Council, 2012. Pp. 191. Paperback £12, ISBN: 9780863557019 - Volume 33 Issue 4 - Adam Dedmon
Investigating EFL teaching at tertiary level in China from teachers’ perspective - Zheng Huang, Native and Non-Native English Speaking Teachers in China: Perceptions and Practices. Singapore: Springer, 2018. Pp. xv + 192. Hardback $65, ISBN: 978-981-10-5283-5 - Birong Huang
What does it mean to teach English pronunciation in a globalized world? - Andrew Sewell , English Pronunciation Models in a Globalized World: Accent, Acceptability and Hong Kong English. London and New York: Routledge, 2016. Pp. vi + 195. Hardback £95.00, ISBN 9781138017474 - Junwei Zhu
To understand the role of a global language in different societies, one needs to distinguish between imperial or colonial and post-imperial or post-colonial societies. As a rule, imperial societies strongly resist any kind of linguistic globalization which they consider to be an imminent threat to their language and culture. Post-imperial societies, such as Azerbaijan, tend to have a more open attitude to the realities of a global language since they feel more secure in their cultural identities. Therefore, the spread of global English creates an excellent opportunity for building multilingualism and plurilingualism in post-imperial societies.
When I launched an online survey last December with the aim of learning about people's practices of looking up usage advice, I anticipated that searching for answers to grammar questions would not differ considerably from what are currently most common practices in searching for any kind of information. The answers are, as a rule, simply looked up online. From a group of 189 respondents, among whom the majority were university-educated language professionals such as linguists, editors, journalists and translators, more than half reported that they preferred consulting online rather than printed sources. The respondents below the age of 25 who reported looking up usage advice in printed books were few and far between (11%). The question that can be consequently raised is what implications this finding has for the future of the printed usage advice literature, which includes usage guides, all-in-one reference books we are researching in the context of the Bridging the Unbridgeable project. What is more, the number of sources that are available on the Internet is growing exponentially, and we need to probe more deeply into the matter to ask which of the available sources are in fact consulted.
Principles, practices and problems in teaching EIL - Roby Marlina and Ram Ashish Giri (eds.), The Pedagogy of English as an International Language: Perspectives from Scholars, Teachers, and Students. New York: Springer, 2014. Pp. x + 265. Hardback £90, ISBN 978331906126-9 - Fan Hu
Exploring language in use - Andrew John Merrison , Aileen Bloomer , Patrick Griffiths , and Christopher J. Hall , Introducing Language in Use. (2nd edn.) London: Routledge, 2014. Pp. xxiii + 456. Hardback £95, ISBN 9780415583053 - Volume 33 Issue 4 - Yu Zhang
The British National Corpus (BNC) has been available to the research community for more than two decades. Over the course of its three editions to date, this 100-million-word database, containing samples of both transcribed speech and written texts representing British English of the 1990s and earlier, has established itself as a valuable resource used around the world in a wide range of language-related applications.
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