The English language has spread globally since the 18th century. The so-called first diaspora appeared in the middle of the 18th century when British sailors, pilgrims, merchants, and so on came to North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
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The second diaspora developed during colonization of the rest of Africa and Asia. The processes have not stopped, and English is becoming more widespread worldwide. Millions of people speak it as their first or second language. The spread of English led to the development of such concepts as World English and English as Lingua Franca.
There are several models of World English. For instance, Peter Strevens developed a world map of English. It is possible to note that this model is based on historical and geographical features. McArthur developed a model that is also based on geographical (or even state) principle.
The researcher identifies three levels (world standard English, major regional variations, variant of English in particular countries). It is noteworthy that the model is quite detailed and convenient to use. Kachru’s model is one of the most widespread models. The researcher identifies three circles (inner, outer, expanding). The inner circle can be generally associated with the first diaspora countries (USA, Australia, and so on).
The outer circle can be linked to the second diaspora countries (African and Asian countries). The expanding circle can be regarded as the countries of Europe (especially Eastern), some countries of Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Another model that employs the concept of circles was suggested by Yano.
The researcher identifies inner and outer circle, and the major focus is paid to the proficiency. Marco Modiano also focused on proficiency and employed circles. Notably, in Modiano’s model, the inner circle is formed by speakers of international English (which is understandable for native speakers and proficient non-native speaker).
The next circle is constituted by features that can become common. Finally, there is a circle of major varieties of English (American, British, and so on). Graddol modified Kachru’s model and developed a circle based on proficiency and ‘functional nativeness.’ All these models share certain traits in common, but all of them have different focuses and, hence, they can be used in different settings.
As has been mentioned above, English as Lingua Franca is the concept that appeared due to the spread of English. Thus, the British Empire had vast colonies and spread its political and economic (as well as linguistic) influence on the territories. The colonies also interacted with other regions, and English spread further.
The empire was also one of the most technologically developed, and numerous terms appeared in English. Eventually, the language became the international Lingua Franca. It is very convenient for people coming from different countries to have an opportunity to share their ideas freely.
Interestingly, linguists start paying more attention to the English as a Lingua Franca, and they note that this variant of English is different and should be taught differently from such variants as American or British English. It is important to remember that English as Lingua Franca is spoken by non-native speakers to communicate with other non-native speakers of English.
Of course, researchers are only yet to solve this issue. However, it is possible to note that English is Lingua Franca (and the way it is taught now) is quite an efficient method of international communication that leads to globalization and development of the human society.