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Task: The second assignment is a longer essay 3000 words with a wider range of choices from the subject. The object of this assignment is to engage with a particular area of interest (such as English in a particular context, or the arguments around English as a lingua franca, or the question of the future of
English) in some detail. You will be expected to have read more widely than just subject readings and to develop a focus on a particular are of interest to you. You should start to think about possible topics for this essay early in the subject (or at least, do not wait until the end of the subject). You should also decide whether you want to write a broad overview and discussion of an area (based on readings from the subject as well as further reading), look in close detail at a particular context (which may require searching for resources that may not be so easy to find), or engage in some kind of empirical work, such as an analysis of the language of a speaker, or of a particular variety (which may involve less background reading, but will involve gathering and analyzing data).
Possible essay topics for assignment 2
These are suggestions only. Changes can be made to these suggestions , and different topics may be proposed. It is essential, however, that you discuss your proposed assignment with your lecturer.
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English is a global language since it is spoken by more than billions of people in every country all over the world. The language is used not only in academic and professional circles but is considered as 'the dialect of innovation and industry, business and trade, and solution and science on the planet today' (Abdi Tabari, 2014). English connects the world as a global community where some level of English proficiency is mandatory for various occupations all over the world. Non-native speakers who had some knowledge of English stood a better chance in employment opportunities than the rest. After the colonization by the British and the United States, countries like India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Switzerland, Kenya, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, etc. English has begun to be used as an official language in legislative, administrative, economic, finance, commerce, transportation and judicial sectors widely. A large number of non-native speakers use English as a second language and as a principal medium of instruction in academic institutions. Kachru ascribes the above reasons for why the local elites began to receive an English-medium education which then led to increasing use of English in their daily affairs and subsequently became both a language of power and prestige and a language of interethnic communication (Kachru, 1986).
Research in the linguistics shows that the number of non-native English speakers are more than that of natives. It has been noted that though a good percentage of English speakers belongs to the 'expanding and the outer circle' yet the hegemony persists in the 'inner circle'. The term 'outer circle' as defined by Kachru, denoted countries where English is spoken as a second language, 'Inner circle' refers to countries where English is the primary language of the speakers. Stevens notes that of the total English speaking population there are only 'fifth or less' native speakers of English as compared to the non-native speakers and therefore most of the conversations in English across the world takes place among non-native speakers without any native interventions (Strevens, 1992). This has led the English to undergo a lot of linguistic changes in terms of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and discourse, a change often considered 'deviant' by native speakers of English. Therefore, countries of the 'inner circle' who 'supposedly' possess the power to set professional and academic norms of English teaching in a second language classroom needs to be revisited and revised.
English was called an 'international language' for the first time by Smith, who considered it a means of communication and interaction among people of different nations. According to (McKay, 2002), 'Learners of an international language do not need to internalize the cultural norms of native speakers of that language; the ownership of an international language becomes de-nationalized, and the educational goal of learning it is to enable learners to communicate their ideas and culture to others.' Complications of this sort have resulted in a distinction between English as Second Language Learning and English as Foreign Language Learning in terms of language teaching-learning pedagogy. Canagarajah argues that English language materials and pedagogy should be socially and culturally located rather than being influenced the Standard English. The reason stated in the same is that students inside and outside the classroom express themselves in their own social and cultural terms. The teachers of English Language who accepts English as a second language denotes their acceptance of the language as an international language and its 'global connection'. On the other hand, the teachers of English language who accepts the same as a foreign language 'is more often than not premised upon inequalities between learner and target communities' This refers to the social and cultural context of teaching English as a foreign language.