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ET316: English Across Cultures


People sometimes think of English speakers as all belonging to a single culture. However, the way English is used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other English-speaking countries exhibits a range of interesting differences that reveal insights into different subcultures of English. In addition, many non-native English-speaking countries now rely on English as a second language, and its use as a lingua franca is also commonplace around the world. This raises many interesting questions: How does English vary within and across these contexts, and what happens when it is used as a lingua franca or in combination with other languages? Is English becoming more powerful as a language, or is its influence waning? What is its effect on other languages, and what will happen to English in the future? In this module we examine questions like these as we explore the various functions and forms of English across cultures.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Be familiar with international varieties of English.
  • Understand the nature of English when it is used as a lingua franca.
  • Recognise the influence of English on other languages both at a societal and an individual level.
  • Know ways of acknowledging the international nature of English and sensitivities towards English in language policy and professional practice.

Learning Experience


Core content will be presented during weekly 2-hour lectures.


We will meet in a weekly 1-hour small-group seminar to practice and apply course concepts.



3000-word assignment

Preparatory Reading

  • Crystal, D. 1997. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Academic Staff

Richard Smith