Although many different varieties of English have been spoken for several centuries, it is only surprisingly recently that the field of study that has become to be known as World Englishes has been established. A key figure in the field is Braj Kachru. His debate with the British linguist Randolph Quirk drew the boundaries between two distinct positions. Quirk’s (1985) position was that a single standardized form of English, based on British English, should be the model for all non-native learners of English. Kachru (1985) took the opposite view and argued that there were many varieties of English, all of which were linguistically equal. In his 1985 paper, Kachru classified Englishes using the now famous “three circles” model. These were concentric circles and he called them the inner, outer and expanding circles. The inner circle countries were those in which English was traditionally the first language of the majority of the speakers. These countries included Great Britain, the United States and Australia. The outer circle countries were those in which English played an official or institutional role and were, typically, postcolonial nations; Nigeria, Kenya, India, Singapore and the Philippines provide examples. The expanding circle countries were those in which English was generally used only as a foreign language which played no institutional or official role within the country; countries such as China and Japan were examples of expanding circle countries.
The Routledge Companion to English Studies
Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics