chapter  1
20 Pages

Standardized English: The history of the earlier circles

ByDaniel R. Davis

Kachru (1992: 356) describes the Three Circles Model of the sociolinguistic profile of English as consisting of ‘three concentric circles’, representing, ‘the types of spread, the patterns of acquisition, and the functional allocation of English in diverse cultural contexts’. McArthur (1998: 97), substituting the description ‘contiguous ovals’ for ‘concentric circles’, draws attention to the ‘smaller unlabelled ovals belonging presumably to the past’. The purpose of this chapter is to give a brief history of those earlier ovals or circles, bearing in mind that Kachru’s model enables a contextualization that has both historical and present-day sociolinguistic significance (Kachru 2008: 568). The smaller unlabelled circles signify earlier forms of English in time, or they signify sociolinguistic profiles or ideologies of English inspired by those earlier forms, but written on today’s map (see Milroy 2002: 9-12 on language history as a legitimizing ideology). As Kachru states:

The inner circle is inner with reference to the origin and spread of the language, and the outer is outer with reference to geographical expansion of the language – the historical stages in the initiatives to locate the English language beyond the traditional English-speaking Britain; the motivations, strategies, and agencies involved in the spread of English; the methodologies involved in the acquisition of the language; and the depth in terms of social penetration of the English language to expand its functional range in various domains, including those of administration, education, political discourses, literary creativity, and media.