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Originally posted by tongluren at 2006-12-18 10:09
In days past it was the Queen's English that supposedly show culture and refinement. Then the Yanks became rich and powerful, and American English became the standard.
When China's GDP is US$25,000 per head, whatever style of English the Chinese desire to adopt will be the mainstream.
I don't think so.
A well spoken, universally understandable version of spoken English will be respected everywhere in the English speaking world, and should be intelligible even amongst the Chinglish/Engrish/Hinglish/Spanglish/Franglish speakers.
So a well spoken Bostonian's English should be as well understood as someone speaking RP (received pronunciation), although I do find RP a little "stiff".
Everyday speech of a Yorkshireman, can be difficult to understand if you're not from Yorkshire. Same can apply with Australian-English & American-English and other variations.
The key is in educating the users, that while Singlish (for example) might be all right to use at home in Singapore, it might not be in the best interests of easy communication in other parts of the world.
Popularity is another thing. Many non-native English speakers choose to learn to speak English with an American accent, and that's all well and good.
There are, however, relatively neutral alternatives which do not signify any particular regional accent and, when coupled with the speaker's original accent, could be equally at home in any part of the English speaking world.
Personally, I believe that TESOL teachers (in non-English speaking countries) should be careful to teach their students in an accent neutral way simply for purposes of clarity.
Anyone who, for example, taught their pupils to speak with a strong Australian accent and using Australian slang, would not be doing their students a proper service. Any particular slang or localised English words should be explained to the student so that they can be aware that parts of their speech may not be universally understood in the rest of the native English speaking world.