Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sri Lankan English: The state of the debate

In the two and a half years since I published my book, A Dictionary of Sri Lankan English, I have followed the ongoing debate on the subject with interest. The good news is that there is a debate, and it seems to have entered the public domain rather than being confined to academic circles. There seems to be increasing acceptance of the idea that such a thing as Sri Lankan English exists, that it deserves to be recognised as a valid variety of English, and that Sri Lankans can be proud to speak English “our way”.

This opinion is nothing new in the world of English language teaching. “World Englishes” is a well-established and growing field – the plural “Englishes” says it all. And here in Sri Lanka ELT academics such as Professors Thiru Kandiah, Siromi Fernando, Arjuna Parakrama and Manique Gunesekera have all contributed to promoting the idea that the Sri Lankan variety of English should be validated alongside other more established varieties. What is new is that it seems to be coming out into the open, a “hot topic” on which many people are ready to express an opinion.

Full report here

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