World Englishes debate: Activity

In 1991, Professor Randolph Quirk and Professor Braj Kachru published articles in English Today debating the value of World Englishes.

Prof. Quirk argued that we must have a strong standard for English that does not allow for incorrect vocabulary or grammar.

Prof. Kachru argued that English must serve different purposes for millions of people around the world, and therefore, because a single standard is impossible, we must appreciate the variation in English worldwide.

Where do you stand?


Team 1 (Prof. Quirk): We must have a strong standard for English.

Team 2 (Prof. Kachru): We must appreciate the variation in English worldwide.

Additional questions:

  • Is Scottish English a World English? How about Geordie English? Indian English? How do you know?
  • Should applicants to UK universities be allowed to write their personal statements in American English? Indian English? Brummie English? Why or why not?
  • Are World Englishes acceptable in some contexts, and not in others? Are they okay in markets in Hong Kong, but not in job interviews in the UK?


Where did you stand on the issue before you started the debate?

Where do you stand now? Has your position changed?

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