Author Topic: Yes, there’s a plural for English and it’s “Englishes”  (Read 5860 times)

Joe Carillo

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Yes, there’s a plural for English and it’s “Englishes”
« on: September 11, 2010, 09:33:25 PM »
In an e-mail I sent to Forum members last September 4, I used the plural “Englishes” in the following passage:

In the more demanding call-center services industry, however, great premium is placed on what’s called “ USA 101” for the North American market and “Aussie 101” for the Australian market. Both require a clear, neutral English accent, which means ruthlessly eliminating the distracting peculiarities of the nonnative spoken Englishes I enumerated earlier.

That plural usage drew the following response from reader Felix A.:

On the second paragraph of your “Can you speak English well enough for a call center job,” you use the word “Englishes.” I do not think there is a plural for English. Can you explain?

I would like to share with Forum members my reply to Felix A.:

There’s as yet no entry for “Englishes” as plural noun in the more popular dictionaries, but in linguistic circles, the term is increasingly used to refer to varieties of English in countries where English is an official but not necessarily the first language of the populace; in short, it refers to all English varieties except for those spoken in Great Britain. In particular, the terms “New Englishes” and “World Englishes” are used to distinguish the world’s various emergent English varieties from the Anglo Englishes or Older Englishes, which, of course, are the English varieties spoken in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
A prominent example of the usage of the word “Englishes” is in the title of Andy Kirkpatrick’s book, World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Then there’s World Englishes, an international journal committed to theoretical research on English in the global, social, cultural and linguistic contexts. Also, the renowned British linguist David Crystal gave a talk entitled “The Future of Englishes” to the British Council in 2004. I believe the plural noun “Englishes” is well on its way to being recognized by the lexicographers as a legitimate English word.