English and multiculturalism - From the language user's perspective

Shigenori Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to reconsider the status of 'English as an international language' from the language user's perspective. Accepting a shift in focus from 'English' to 'Englishes', we argue that the concept of 'Englishes', which assumes the pluralization of linguistic and cultural norms, still remains a collective concept, and to discuss English from the language user's point of view, the notion of 'my English' - a notion motivated by the distinction between 'English one learns' and 'English one uses' - should be introduced. We also argue that if a personal perspective of 'my English' is taken, then, we must also draw a distinction between 'culture out there' and 'culture one encounters' to discuss the context in which English is used. In this paper, we introduce the perspective of 'living multiculturalism', and discuss some of the major cultural issues from that perspective. All in all, this paper is an attempt at advancing a theory of world Englishes from the perspective of the user of the language, suggesting pedagogical implications for understanding the notion of communicative competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-66
Number of pages20
JournalRELC Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Englishes
  • Functionality
  • International language
  • Living multiculturalism
  • Metaphor
  • My English

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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