Economic migrants, social networks, and the prospect of koinéization in the United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), immigrants constitute nearly 90% of the population. Most are adults who come from South Asia and who are ESL users of English. The paper suggests that the English speaking community in the UAE is at the stage of pre-koinéization, one in which there is an increase in transparency with regard to features which are overly complex for ESL speakers. The very small number of children in the immigrant community and the instability of the community are constraints on the process of pre-koinéization, but this paper nevertheless suggests that there are users of acrolectal English who strive for greater transparency, and it provides examples of three ways in which they are doing so. These are through the extension of verb complementation patterns, the extension of patterns of transitivity, and the extension of the pluralization of nouns, and these changes are well documented in postcolonial Englishes (Schneider 2007). The data are drawn from a corpus of 3.3 million words of acrolectal written English.
Keywords: English as a Second Language, World Englishes, corpus linguistics, koinéization, social networks
Published online: 21 February 2014
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