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The Phonology of English as a n International Language. Jeniffer Jenkins.

 “For the first time in the history of English language, second language speakers
outnumber those for whom it is the mother tongue, and interaction in English
increasingly involves no first language speakers whatsoever” (JENKINS, 2000, p. 1).

1. The background: Changing patterns in the use of English


1.1. The historical shift

 The teaching of English to speakers of other languages has a history stretching back
to the late 15th Century (JENKINS, 2000, p. 5).
 Until fairly recently, the goal of such teaching was straightforward: learners wished
primarily to be able to communicate effectively with native speakers of English,
who were considered by all to be the owners of the language, guardians of its
standards, and arbiters of acceptable pedagogic norms (JENKINS, 2000, p. 5).
 In order to achieve their goal, it was considered essential for these ‘non-native
speakers’ to approximate as closely as possible to the native standard, particularly
with regard to pronunciation and, in the 20th Century, very often with respect to a
single prestige accent, Received Pronunciation (RP) (JENKINS, 2000, p.5).
1.2. Changing ownership; changing terminology
 In recognition of the changes outlined above, a number of more forward-thinking
and less parochial applied linguists have begun to call into question the whole issue
of who owns the English language and, consequently, who is entitled to prescribe
standards against which use is to be measured (JENKINS, 2000, p. 6).
 Similarly, it is entirely inappropriate, indeed offensive, to label as ‘non-native
speakers’ those who have learnt English as a second or foreign language and
achieved bilingual status as fluent, proficient users. The perpetuation of the
native/non-native dichotomy causes negative perceptions and self-perceptions of
‘non-native’ teachers and a lack of confidence in and of ‘non-native’ theory builders
– […] a simplistic view of what constitutes an error, and deficiencies in English
language testing programmes, because speakers are being measured against an
unrealistic and irrelevant standard. (JENKINS, 2000, p. 9).
 For those L1 speakers of English who speak no other language fluently, I suggest
substituting the term ‘native speaker’ with ‘monolingual English speaker’ (MES). L1
standards would remain operable here but not be used to measure L2 varieties of
English. This would mean, to take a controversial example, that because MESs
generally use weak forms (thus pronouncing the vowel sound in words like to, from,
and of as schwa /ə/), an L2 speaker would not automatically be expected to do so.
 Since these pronunciation features do not appear to contribute to international
intelligibility, the speaker would not be criticized or penalized for not doing so.
(JENKINS, 2000, p. 9).
 On the other hand, for both those ‘native speakers’ who speak another language
fluently and for ‘non-native speakers’ who speak English fluently, I suggest
‘bilingual English speaker’ (BES) (JENKINS, 2000, p. 9).
 ‘how foreign can it be internationally, since people all over the world communicate
in English?’ (GIKA, 1996, p. 15).
 One possible alternative to EFL simply involves reversing the second and third
letters to arrive at ELF, or ‘English as a Lingua Franca’. This term would have a
number of immediate advantages: ELF emphasizes the role of English in
communication between speakers from different L1s, i.e. the primary reason for
learning English today; it suggests the idea of community as opposed to alienness;
it emphasizes that people have something in common rather than their differences;
it implies that ‘mixing’ languages is acceptable (which was, in fact, what the original
lingua francas did) and thus that there is nothing inherently wrong in retaining
certain characteristics of the L1, such as accent; finally, the Latin name symbolically
removes the ownership of English from the Anglos both to no one and, in effect, to
everyone. (JENKINS, 2000, p. 11).
 ‘Lingua Franca core” as the most appropriate model for international English
phonology, according to Jenkins (2000).
1.3. Appropriate pedagogy for an international language
 In other words, how do we identify for pedagogy the ‘minimum standards of mutual
intelligibility’, to which Bansal (1990) refers, without recourse to an L1 model?
(JENKINS, 2000, p. 11).
 In the most forward-thinking classrooms learners are being encouraged to develop
what Kramsch describes as ‘intercultural competence’. This is achieved, for
example, through contrastive work, exposure to a range of cultures, and the use of
literature and drama. Such learners develop a receptive awareness of the fact of
difference in cultural norms across L1/cultural groupings, while at the same time
gaining insight into the nature of the norms of their own L1/culture (JENKINS, 2000,
p. 13).
 GA (General American).
 According to Crystal (1995), less than three per cent of the British population speak
RP in its pure form, with many educated people having developed an accent known
as ‘modified RP’ – a combination of RP and regional features (JENKINS, 2000, p. 14).