Projekt:European Sociolinguistics/International English

Which role does international English (aside from AmE and BrE) play in foreign language teaching?


The Austrian curriculum offers no evidence for any compulsory contents concerning international English.

--KatiK 13:25, 19. Sep. 2007 (CEST)

Czech Republic


"International English is not often the aim of foreign language teaching -

especially at secondary level the aim is still British English"

quotation from:

"Mgr. Olga Dontcheva-Navratilova, Ph.D (Masaryk University Brno, Faculty of Education)"


In Denmark, it is obviously the key motivation for prioritizing English at all levels. Although British English and American English are the most common types of foreign language teaching, Danish schools try to teach the diversity of English by using texts (particularly at the upper secondary level) from India, South Africa etc.

Nevertheless, “International English” as a type of English which is associated with “lingua franca” functions does not play an important role in foreign language teaching.

Source: University professors from the universities Kopenhage and Roskilde

„Again, many textbooks present audio material explaining the basic differences in varieties of English. Nevertheless, the information is brief and does not really teach students to imitate accents, rather the focus is on comprehension- it can be seen as an attempt to help students cope with different speakers in the real world. At university level students take a course acquainting themselves with the most widespread varieties like accents of Britain, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, wales, Scotland, Ireland and also pidgins of English. The course is both theoretical and practical.“

Quotation from: Head of the Department of Germanic and Romance Languages - Janika Johanna Marley, Tallinn Univesity

Marina K 10:38, 5. Sep. 2007 (CEST)



The French curriculum does not offer any information about International English in foreign language teaching in France.

--StefanB 13:01, 4. Okt. 2007 (CEST)

English as a Second Language, based on curriculum and school language needs, is delivered through a language support programme for non-English speaking students. This programme focuses specifically on the language that newcomer students require to engage fully with mainstream learning. It is not strictly International English. If you want to find out more information about this, see the website

sources: Professor from the Trinity College

In Italy, at the moment International English plays a very small role in foreign language teaching. The idea of English as a Lingua Franca is just beginning to be discussed as a worthwhile issue, but mostly in university and not school contexts. Students studying Applied Linguistics, Sociolinguistics etc. may get some information on non-Standard UK/US varieties, but for schools there is not much learning material that makes use of non-native speakers or non-UK/US Standard varieties. As a consequence – taken into consideration that language lessons in Italy are often very textbook dependent – International English plays a quite unimportant role in Italian classrooms.

It should be mentioned here that there is still a wide misgiving among English teachers and learners in Italy that British English is THE English to be taught and learned, that American English is inferior and that there is only one correct pronunciation (RP). If teachers are at all aware of the existence and importance of other “Englishes” than the US/UK varieties, many of them believe that teaching them would “complicate” the learning process for the students.

Many Italians consider themselves poor listeners/understanders of English, find native speakers (both UK and US varieties and regional accents) hard to understand and think that problems in comprehension stem from their own inability to make themselves understood. Therefore the idea of an International English should be welcomed in Italy as it allows for less rigidly prescriptive rules on pronunciation and grammar and finally helps Italian learners realize that also English can be their language of communication.


Professors from the Universities of Trento and Modena (especially from communication with Dott.ssa Maia Micaela Coppola and Dott. Glenn Alessi)





"English is an official language here so we learn English from early Primary years (i.e. from 4 years of age)... so you will understand that its role is central here in Malta. It is used regularly especially to read and to write. At higher level of education it is indispensable as many textbooks at Secondary level and practically all textbooks at tertiary level (including university) are in English." (Dr. Sandro Caruana, University of Malta)



"...English as the language of international communication are written down into most syllabi at the primary and secondary level." ²

"So intercultural communication and English as the language of international communication are given priority by educators at the national level. What the classroom practices are is another story. However, communicative orientation of school teaching is to a large extent forced by the examination system." ³

² Anna Ewert, Assistant Professor at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland.

³ Dr. Marta Parulska, lecturer at the Catholic University of Eichstätt in Germany; the original German statement has been translated into English.



We tend to focus on American and British English, and it is these varieties that are covered by course books. When teaching other languages (French, German, Spanish, etc) English of course matters very little, over all. (a professor from Uppsala)

Regarding International English: The awareness is not so big. Most teachers still concentrate on having US and UK English as a standard. Personally I have read some research articles regarding International English (I have also attended an IATEFL conference where one of the key-note speakers had this as his topic). They have made me think, and I personally feel attracted to the concept of the different variants of Englishes. However, students often react negatively to the message, often they strive to become little Brits or US cowboys. (a professor from Uppsala)



The situation today: British and American English

According to Catting-Aellig, today, teachers are more British than American oriented. 96 % claim to use British English in the classroom. In contrast to that, American English is more influental outside school. Many fields such as technology, science and business have been Americanized.


There are more non-native English speakers than native speakers in the world. As a consequence, English becomes a lingua franca in Europe. English has supplanted French and German as the first foreign language in almost every European school. According to Murray, this will lead to a new variety of English in Europe that can be compared to Hong-Kong English or Indian English. The term Euro-English is "used to denote the emerging variety of English spoken as a lingua franca by EU residents" (Murray, S. 4). In order to find out whether a Euro-English would be accepted by native and non-native English teachers in Switzerland, Murray carried out a study with 253 Swiss English teachers. One of the results of the survey is that non-native teachers of English show less enthusiasm for statements in favour of Euro-English than Native Englisch teachers.


Andres, Franz & Richard J. Watts (1993): "English as a lingua franca in Switzerland: Myth or reality?", in Bulletin CILA 58, 109 -127.

Cattin-Aellig, Miriam (1996): "American and Brith English: A Conflict for the Young Swiss?", in: TRANEL 24, 65-78.

Swiss English teachers and Euro-English: Attitudes to a non-native variety (2003). In H. Murray (ed) anglais, Englisch, inglese, Englais ....English! Bulletin VALS/ASLA 77; 147-165.

Pan Swiss English Durham, Mercedes: Language Choice on a Swiss Mailing List. University of Fribourg

United Kingdom


According to Dr. Hyde, the native-speaker ideal has become obsolete in learning English as a foreign language. Therefore, I assume that native speakers in the UK have to learn about international English as well in order to ensure mutual understanding.


Hyde, Martin. "Intercultural competence in English language education", in: The Modern English Teacher 7, p. 7-11.

--SaskiaS 22:21, 19. Sep. 2007 (CEST)