Varieties of English – To Learn or Not to Learn? To Teach or Not to Teach?

English is now widely agreed to be the Lingua Franca. However, this term has traditionally been seen as a language of low level, whereas English is a complex language whose ‘innumerable clearly-distinguishable varieties’ (Robert W. Burchfield, 1986) ranging from high, social and scientific registers through to some of the most criticised, colloquial forms.

What is the Lingua Franca?

The definition of Lingua Franca as found in the Collins Dictionary is 1. a language used for communication among people of different mother tongues, 2. any system of communication providing mutual understanding.

What is the accepted and most sought after form of English?

Standard English (SE), The Queens English, British Standard English (BrSE) or American Standard English (AmSE), as became popular during the Second World War, Australian, Canadian or Philippines Standard English? In truth, it has many forms, and we have yet to agree on the most ‘correct’, if ever there was one.
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What varieties of English exist?

The concept of a single supranational standard to which both UK and US norms exist have at least four names, and have existed rather vaguely for some time. They are:

World/World English(WE) – English as a world language in all its varieties, including characteristics from countries such as New Zealand and Australia.

World Standard English (WSE) – A standard of English used worldwide.

International or International English (IE) – The English Language in its Lingua Franca Form when taken as a whole (BrE, AmE, AusE,etc)

International Standard English (ISE) – A standard of English used internationally. The term has two linked senses: (1) The sum-total of all standard English usage worldwide, but with particular reference to the norms of AmE, BrE, and increasingly AusE and other varieties with such works of reference as grammars, dictionaries, and style guides (2) Standard usage that draws on, and may blend with, such sources, but has a transnational identity of its own, especially in print worldwide and in the usage of such organizations as the United Nations.

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