Revisiting the Concentric Circles: Conceptual and Sociolinguistic Considerations

| December 30, 2005
Revisiting the Concentric Circles: Conceptual and Sociolinguistic Considerations

Keywords: Kachru’s concentric circles model, competent users of English

Joanne Rajadurai
Mara University of Technology, Malaysia

Bio Data
Joanne Rajadurai has taught various linguistic and education courses to TESL students in Mara University of Technology, Malaysia. She has a BA (Hons) from the National University of Singapore, a TESOL certificate from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Nottingham, UK. Her research interests lie in the area of sociolinguistics, and include issues of intelligibility and identity in spoken English. She investigated phonological variation in Malaysian English as part of her doctoral thesis.

The Concentric Circles Model promoted by Kachru has had a tremendous impact on the teaching and research enterprise, as its underlying tenets have demanded a reappraisal of dominant concepts, models and practices in sociolinguistics, SLA and TESOL. However, this paper takes on a critical re-examination of the model, and discusses some of its intrinsic and perhaps unforeseen shortcomings, typified in its centre-periphery framework and its geo-historic bases. It also highlights certain drawbacks that have become salient in the face of globalization, and these are explored in terms of changing norms, contemporary patterns of language use and the rise of EIL. In response, it is suggested that for a model to be relevant, it must focus on individual speakers, their communicative competence and patterns of interaction. In particular, the paper draws attention to the ‘glocal’ nature of English: the need for speakers to be able to function effectively both in local and global contexts of use. The discussion concludes by considering how a reconstituted model can impact attitudes and inform classroom pedagogy.

See pages: 111-130

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 7 Issue 4