English at new heights throughout Asia

An estimated 280 million people in India, as well as 280 million in China, regularly speak English. If ASEAN and other Asian countries are included, the tally reaches an astonishing 800 million people now using ‘Asian Englishes’ on a regular basis.

That’s just one of the key facts found in an award-winning volume discussing the spread, status and roles of English across the Asian region.

The new 900-page volume, The Handbook of Asian Englishes (Wiley Blackwell), co-edited by Professor Kingley Bolton (Stockholm University), Dr Werner Botha (Flinders University) and Andy Kirkpatrick (Griffith University), has just won a prestigious PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers.

“The popularity of English is unlikely to diminish in the foreseeable future as a result of both globalisation and regionalisation, given the adoption by ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) of English as its official language,” says Dr Botha, from Flinders University’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

The 39-chapter handbook covers the historical and contemporary dynamics of the English language throughout Asia, including insights into “postcolonial Englishes” such as Hong Kong English, Malaysian English, Philippine English and Singapore English.

Language and linguistics expert Dr Werner Botha, from Flinders University’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

It provides coverage of the role of English as a key additional language in societies such as China, Indonesia and Japan, as well as cutting-edge essays on Asian literatures in English, English and globalisation, English in Asian legal systems, and English in multilingual linguistic landscapes.

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) last week honoured the new volume as a Subject Category Winner in Language & Linguistics in the prestigious 2021 Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Awards, for best scholarly works published in 2020.

A panel of 23 judges selected 45 category winners from a total of 130 finalists from an overall pool of 595 entries for this year’s PROSE Awards competition.

“These 45 works all represent exceptional scholarship, and significant contributions to their various fields,” says AAP Vice President of Programs and Administration Syreeta Swann, noting the overall five PROSE excellence awards will be unveiled in coming weeks.

The book, entitled The Handbook of Asian Englishes (2020) is edited by Kingsley Bolton, Werner Botha and Andy Kirkpatrick, and includes six chapters by Dr Botha. The book covers the history, cultural, contemporary dynamics, and linguistic features of the English language in use throughout the Asian region. It is available online at the publisher Wiley Blackwell.

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