- Still more Englishes by Manfred Görlach
As the title suggests, this book is the fourth installment of Görlach’s monographs on world Englishes, following Englishes (1990), More Englishes (1995), and Even more Englishes (1998), all published as a part of John Benjamins’s ‘Varieties of English around the world’ series. Like those earlier books, the present collection of articles testifies to G’s admirable depth of expertise and enthusiasm for the topic of forms and functions of English around the world. Compared to G’s previous collections, this book does make a slight change of direction, though, and focuses more on ‘societal questions of language policies and politics, and legal and educational concerns’ (xiii), thus presenting a wider perspective than G’s focus on specific varieties displayed in previous volumes.
In Ch. 1, G reflects on the notion of English as a global language, calling for a more careful treatment of statistical data and a more sophisticated sociolinguistic comparison of varieties of English. Ch. 2 discusses the problem of ‘authentic language’, rethinking what sorts of texts linguists should accept as valid data given the wide variation in the social contexts in which varieties of English are produced. Ch. 3 surveys the role of English in establishing national identity across different historical periods and different countries. [End Page 838] Ch. 4 considers several criteria by which one could call a variety a ‘language’, based on the case of Ulster Scots, or Ullans, and Ch. 5 extends this discussion by looking at how the Scots language has been perceived from outside of the speech community in various literary texts. In Ch. 6, G moves on to Southeast Asia and considers the status of English in several countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the Philippines, arguing that the traditional distinction between English-as-a-second-language countries and English-as-a-foreign-language countries may be becoming less meaningful. Ch. 7 is a study of rhyming slang (such as mince pies for ‘eyes’), tracing its spread from late nineteenth-century London to other English-speaking communities. Ch.8 discusses varieties of English in Europe and the influence of English on the indigenous languages of different European countries. Ch. 9 makes some suggestions as to how varieties of English can be incorporated into English language teaching so that greater awareness of linguistic variation can be achieved. The book ends with an annotated bibliography of 285 books and articles that are relevant to the study of English as a world language.
The virtue of G’s work lies in the way he combines his rich insights based on diverse areas including language planning, historical linguistics, literature, and sociolinguistics. In addition, G not only argues for careful treatment and compilation of data that can be used for serious comparison and meaningful generalizations but also practices this himself through the book. For this reason, the points he makes are convincing and useful not only to people working on world Englishes but also to people who approach the issue of globalization of English from different perspectives (such as ethnographic or critical perspectives) and sociolinguists in general.