chapter  34
19 Pages

Construing meaning in World Englishes

ByAhmar Mahboob, Eszter Szenes

Research on World Englishes has, beyond any doubt, made a significant contribution to discussions about the politics and status of the English language around the world. It has also raised the awareness of both linguists and non-linguists of how language varies over space and time and how notions of ‘standard’ English reflect political motives rather than linguistic realities. Nevertheless there are some issues regarding World Englishes that need attention. This paper examines two such issues. The first issue is the practice of using the names of countries in naming varieties of World Englishes; and the second is a focus of World Englishes research on identifying points of structural variation across different varieties of English without considering their semantic functions. This second issue leads to a discussion of how meanings are construed in World Englishes. The paper then shares the findings of a study that attempts to do this and discusses the implications of such work to World Englishes.