Englishes beyond and between the three circles

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The study of “varieties of English around the world”, the “New Englishes” or “World Englishes” emerged at the intersection of dialectology, sociolinguistics and historical linguistics in the early 1980s and has become one of the most vibrant sub-fields of English linguistics. Work in this tradition has made an enormous contribution to our understanding of the linguistic aftermath of colonialism. Among its lasting legacies is the simple and elegant classification of World Englishes into the Inner, Outer and Expanding Circles proposed by Kachru (1992 [1982]).What has not been studied in equal depth (yet) are the non-traditional avenues for the spread of standard and vernacular varieties of English that have been opened up through more recent aspects of globalisation, such as the new migrations starting after the end of the Cold War, the entertainment industry or the revolution in communication brought about by the participatory web. Many of these phenomena elude description within the “Three Circles” model and require a re-positioning of World Englishes research in the context of the “sociolinguistics of globalisation” (Blommaert 2010; Coupland 2010). In order to demonstrate the potential of such a rapprochement, the present study explores the use of the African American rhetorical device of augmentation in a Nigerian diasporic community.


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