chapter  1
14 Pages

English speakers in outer-circle and expanding-circle settings

WithElizabeth Peterson

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For younger generations in many places in the world, the experience with English, both from formal academic domains and informal personal domains, makes a kind of language sandwich, pressing in from both sides. There is strong social pressure for people to become comfortable using English at an increasingly younger age. In the United States, the biggest obstacle in covering the course material was to first convince students to step outside their preconceived notions about English; they had to work to overcome their natural baggage as mother-tongue speakers of English. Such preconceived notions about language are called language ideologies. Oddly enough, when the Finnish students were presented with the statement “Most Finns speak bad English,” the overwhelming majority, in stark contrast to the mother-tongue speakers of English, disagreed. These results imply that the Finnish students are proud and confident about their English skills, but the mother-tongue speakers of English from the United States are not.