The Politics of Standard English: An Exploration of Thai Tertiary English Learners’ Perceptions of the Notion of Standard English

  •  Naratip Jindapitak    


Given that English becomes a lingua franca in the world in which more and more non-native speakers use it to suit their own purposes in local contexts, the ownership of English becomes denationalized. English as an international language scholars have maintained that English learners do not need to approximate the norms of native speakers as closely as possible. Hence, pedagogical attempts based on native-speaker linguistic standards become irrelevant in the contexts where English is mainly used as a lingua franca to serve such wider communicative purposes. In this study, I investigated how the notion of standard English was construed by the Thai tertiary English majors. Focus group interview was used as a research tool to obtain participants’ critical perceptions. The results revealed that although the participants expressed that the notion of standard English was a complex issue that requires careful interpretation, deeply inside, it was still anchored to the ideology of native speaker or at least had to include the construct of native speaker in its working definition. Maintaining that the notion of standard English is a political construct rather than a linguistic reality, the paper ends by suggesting some pedagogical ideas that aim at raising learners’ awareness of the global role of English.

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