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(Paper 4) English as a Global Language: What are 'Kachru's Three Circles of English'?

Braj Kachru was a Professor of Linguistics who coined the term 'World English'. 

'World English' refers to the fact that the English language has been used as a global means of communication in numerous dialects worldwide. It also refers to the movement towards an 'international standard' of the English language. 

Kachru constructed a model of the different uses of English around the world. This model is comprised of three concentric circles, which he labelled: the inner circlethe outer circle and the expanding circle. 

1) The inner circle 

The inner circle is comprised of those countries who are considered the 'traditional bases' of English, such as the U.K., U.S.A, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and anglophone Canada. English in these countries are classed as a 'first' language. Kachru labels the inner circle countries as 'norm-providing' - the norms of the English language are produced there.

2) The outer circle 

The outer circle is comprised of countries where English is not spoken natively but is still maintained as an important language for communication (e.g. as an official 'second' language or as the nation's official language for business and commerce) largely due to historical reasons. These countries include: India, Nigeria, the Phillippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Tanzania, Kenya, non-anglophone South Africa and Canada. Kachru labels these countries as 'norm-developing' - the norms prodcued by the inner circle are further developed and reproduced in the outer circle.

3) The expanding circle 

The expanding circle includes much of the rest of the world's population -  countries that do not hold historical or governmental importance towards English, but class it as a foreign language or lingua franca. Main examples of such countries include: most of Europe, China, Russia, Japan, Korea, Egypt and Indonesia. These countries are 'norm-dependent' - they fully depend on the norms originally produced by the native speakers of the inner circle. They generally do not develop or reproduce 'Englishes'. 

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