Advocating Pluricentric Model for Teaching English in Indonesia

Historically, English was viewed as the property of L1 speakers only. From the perspectives of traditional grammarians English was considered as a „homogenous‟ language (Kachru, 1992) constituting a single variety (Kirkpatrick, 2007). Through a prescriptivism approach the traditional linguists prescribed formal rules based on what was considered correct, best and standard in an L1 speaker community (Richards & Schmidt, 2002, p.415). Such a view led to the assumption “that there is one “correct” way of language use which is “fixed” and invariant, and that any deviation is at best “incorrect” or “illiterate” and at worst, a threat to social stability” (Clark, 2013, p.58).

This belief also means that English is viewed as a monocentric language with only one standard variety determined by the L1 speakers‟ community. The dominant role of L1 speakers was also notable in traditional ELT practices. L1 speakers become the „only‟ point of reference for both the ELT model (Kirkpatrick, 2006; Walker, 2005) and intelligibility (Rajadurai, 2007). Thus, imitating and being intelligible to the L1 speakers became the goal of learning English. Today, English is the most widely spoken language in the world (McKay, 2012).

Since the population of L2 speakers outnumbers L1 speakers, “the majority of interactions in English today take place between bilingual speakers of English” (McKay, 2012, p.72). In addition, the spread of English around the world has turned it into a pluricentric language (Kachru, 1996), that is, a language “with several interacting centres, each providing a national variety with at least some of its own (codified) norms” (Kloss as cited in Clyne, 1992, p.1).

Since the expansion of English has resulted in the birth of new varieties of English, with “new norms shaped by the new sociocultural and sociolinguistic contexts” (Acar, 2009, p. 14), the validity of L1 speaker norms as the standard variety and monocentric models has been challenged in three paradigms: WEs, EIL, and ELF. The following discussion focus on how these three paradigms interpret the current use of English worldwide and provides a rationale for the adoption of pluricentic models in ELT.

Name : Hepy Adityarini

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