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English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN

A Multilingual Model

Andy Kirkpatrick

Publication Year: 2010

The lingua franca role of English, coupled with its status as the official language of ASEAN, has important implications for language policy and language education. These include the relationship between English, the respective national languages of ASEAN and thousands of local languages. How can the demand for English be balanced against the need for people to acquire their national language and mother tongue? While many will also need a regional lingua franca, they are learning English as the first foreign language from primary school in all ASEAN countries. Might not this early introduction of English threaten local languages and children’s ability to learn? Or can English be introduced and taught in such a way that it can complement local languages rather than replace them? The aim of this book is to explore questions such as these and then make recommendations on language policy and language education for regional policymakers. The book will be important for regional policymakers and language education professionals. It should also benefit language teachers, especially, but by no means exclusively, English language teachers. The book will be of interest to all who are interested in the development of English as an international language and the possible implications of this upon local languages and cultures.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Series: Asian Englishes Today


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pp. vii-viii

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Series editor’s preface

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pp. ix-x

From the mid-1990s onwards, the topic of English as a lingua franca has attracted a great deal of attention among various groups of linguists. Initially, this largely arose in the context of a Europe dealing with increasing multilingualism due not only to immigration and the growth of immigrant communities, but also as a result of the wide diversity...

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pp. xi-xiv

The major role that English plays in today’s world is as a lingua franca.1 That is to say, the majority of speakers are multilinguals who have learned English as a second or later language. They use English as a common language with fellow multilinguals. This lingua franca use of English is prevalent throughout the ten nations which make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indeed, this...

Part I - ASEAN and English

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1 The origins of ASEAN and the role of English

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pp. 3-18

This chapter will give a brief summary of the context in which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration in August 1967 by the five founding member countries. The circumstances surrounding the joining of the remaining five countries will also be reviewed. The main principles...

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2 Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines: Linguistic context and the role of English

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pp. 19-42

This chapter will provide a historical description and comparison of the roles of English in those ASEAN countries that were previously colonies of English speaking empires and which, following Kachru (1992c) can be classified as ‘outer circle countries’, namely Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. While Burma was once a colony of the British empire,...

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3 Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam: Linguistic context and the role of English

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pp. 43-64

The previous chapter summarized the development and roles of English with a particular focus on language in education in those ASEAN countries that had a colonial history from which they inherited an institutional role for English. In this chapter the development and roles of English and the national language in the remaining countries of ASEAN will...

Part II - Linguistic Features of English as a Lingua Franca in Asia

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Introduction to Part II

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pp. 67-71

In Part I, the history of ASEAN, the development and roles of English in the ASEAN member states were compared and contrasted. In Part II, the focus shifts towards a description of the linguistic features of English in ASEAN, especially when it is used as a lingua franca. The need for or indeed the possibility of describing English as a lingua franca...

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4 Pronunciation, intelligibility and lexis

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pp. 73-93

This chapter describes a selection of the phonological and lexical features of ASEAN speakers of English. As described and illustrated in Part I, ASEAN comprises ten nations which have had different histories with regard to their exposure to English. Those countries which were colonized have developed their own varieties of English and some of these have been codified...

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5 Grammar, discourse and pragmatics

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pp. 95-122

In this chapter a selection of syntactic and discourse features and pragmatic norms is illustrated. The first part of the chapter will provide some examples of grammatical variation in the dialects of British English. In this way, the reader can see how common and wide-ranging grammatical variation is within a traditional variety of English. Examples...

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6 The communicative strategies of ASEAN ELF users

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pp. 123-141

The data upon which the findings in this chapter are primarily based come from the audio-recordings of six group discussions in which all ten ASEAN nations are represented. These are the same groups which were described in Chapter 4, but are repeated here for ease of reference and, because the individual speakers are referred to in slightly...

Part III - Implications for Policy and Pedagogy

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Introduction to Part III

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pp. 145-146

In Part I, a review of the development and role(s) of English in each of the ten member states of ASEAN was provided. Despite the significant differences which exist, English is playing an increasingly important role in each, a role heightened by ASEAN’s decision to make English the group’s sole official and working language. The increasing importance attached...

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7 Implications for language education policy

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pp. 147-167

As we have seen, almost all the member states of ASEAN have made English a compulsory part of the primary school curriculum, many countries teaching it from Primary 1. This has led to serious problems throughout the region, deriving from a lack of adequate resources. The situation in the Philippines and the problems associated with the lack of general resources...

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8 Pedagogical implications: The multilingual model and the lingua franca approach

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pp. 169-189

As illustrated in earlier chapters, all the member states of ASEAN are paying increasing importance to English and this is reflected in the introduction of English as a compulsory subject into the primary school curricula in all countries except Indonesia, often as a subject from Primary 1 and sometimes as a medium of instruction from Primary...


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pp. 191-192


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pp. 193-194


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pp. 195-212


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pp. 213-222

E-ISBN-13: 9789888053520
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888028788

Page Count: 236
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Asian Englishes Today