Article published in:ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics
Vol. 76 (1987) ► pp. 63–86
Varieties of Today’s English
Implications for Teaching EFL in the Arab World
Today’s English refers to a state or states of the English language as used by its speakers. There are many varieties of English spoken throughout the world. Today’s English is a term that does not describe a single regional or national variety of English, but a language that extends beyond the national borders of native speakers to include second and foreign language speakers. Recent research focuses on the state of the language, the diversity of its users, the contexts of its use, and the effects on the communities using it.It has been the practice of those in authority in the Ministries of Education and universities in the Arab World in general and the Arabian Gulf in particular to hire many native speakers of English to teach English in schools and universities. The assumption was that natives with native speakers’ accent are more effective teachers than teachers of English whose native language is Arabic.Why should an Arab student learn, for instance RP and not any other variety? The writer advocates the practice of hiring a greater percentage of Arabic speaking teachers to teach English in Arab schools and universities. Hiring a particular native speaker of English to teach English to Arab students forces those students to listen and be exposed to a particular variety instead of an international variety that is intelligible and international enough to be accepted by every one. Besides, listening and speaking to a Britisher more an American are not of great importance to Arab students. What is more important are the two skills of reading and writing since they are the only two channels through which western science and technology could be transferred to Arabs. Because of the nature of Arab students’ motivation, the writer advocates the use of more suitable cultural materials.
Published online: 01 January 1987