Most English language programmes still start with the idea that English ‘belongs to’ the UK and the USA, but…

“Nobody owns it any more. Or rather, everyone who has learned it now owns it” – Crystal (2003)*

I believe English belongs to everyone. It is the language of the world. English is not like Japanese or Polish, for example. If you are learn Japanese, it is probably because you want to live or travel in Japan. But English is not the same.

There are many different types of Englishes and different accents too. Everyone should be able to keep their accent identity (or choose to sound like they come from somewhere different – but at least they should have a choice!).

The big question is how can we learn to understand each other if we all sound very different?world-map-made-of-speech-bubbles

To communicate with people from all over the world, we need to learn how to:

  • understand many different accents, not just British and American accents.

  • use clear pronunciation that people with different first languages can understand.

  • use clear vocabulary and phrases that help your listener understand your message.

  • be an active listener, especially when we are speaking to someone with very different English to our own English.

There are many free resources on My English Voice to help develop these skills. See the About My English Voice page for more details.

Source: Crystal, D. (2003) English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press