STEVE BUCKLEDEE Global English and ELT Coursebooks 141
141 STEVE BUCKLEDEE Global English and ELT Coursebooks 1. What kind of English do learners need? It is generally accepted that speakers of English as a Second Lan- guage (ESL), as an International Language (EIL), or as a Lingua Franca (ELF) now comfortably outnumber native speakers. In both state and private schools throughout the world, the demand for Eng- lish language teaching continues to increase; indeed, Kirkpatrick (2006: 78) reports that in China alone estimates of the number of learners of English range from 200 million to 350 million. To put those figures into perspective, if we accept the higher estimate of 350 million, that means that there are more learners of English in China than there are native speakers of the language in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia combined. The majority of those Chinese learners may never encounter a native speaker of English, much less have need to communicate with one. As Kirkpatrick (2006: 78) notes: While native speakers will naturally be part of the group with whom these learners may need to communicate in the future, the majority will be fellow non-native speakers, whether they be Europeans, people from the Middle East, or Asians. The phenomenon of millions of people learning English in order to work with other ELF users raises the question of what variety of English should be presented to such learners as a model to seek to emulate. As regards coursebooks and audio materials, the current situa- tion is clear enough: a...
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