Intelligibility in World Englishes: Theory and Application, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Intelligibility in World Englishes

Theory and Application, 1st Edition

By Cecil L. Nelson


138 pages

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Intelligibility is the term most generally used to address the complex of criteria that describe, broadly, how useful someone’s English is when talking or writing to someone else. Set within the paradigm of world Englishes – which posits that the Englishes of the world may be seen as flexibly categorized into three Circles (Inner, Outer, Expanding) in terms of their historical developments – this text provides a comprehensive overview of the definitions and scopes of intelligibility, comprehensibility and interpretability, and addresses key topics within this paradigm:

  • Who – if anyone – provides the models and norms for a given population of English users?
  • Hybridity and creativity in world Englishes
  • Evaluating paradigms: misinformation and disinformation
  • Practicalities of dealing with the widening variety of Englishes
  • Is English "falling apart"?

The much-debated issue of intelligibility touches not only sociolinguistic theory but all aspects of English language teaching, second language acquisition, language curriculum planning, and regional or national language planning. Designed for students, teacher educators, and scholars internationally, each chapter includes ‘Topics for Discussion and Assignments’ and ‘Suggestions for Further Reading’.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Larry E. Smith



Ch. 1: "Understanding" and Intelligibility in World Englishes

Ch. 2: Intelligibility, Comprehensibility, Interpretability

Ch. 3: Hybridity, Creativity and Intelligibility in World Englishes

Ch. 4: Other Conceptualizations of Intelligibility

Ch. 5: Intelligibility in English Language Teaching

Ch. 6: Intelligibility and the On-Going Expansions of Englishes

Annotated Bibliography


About the Author

Cecil L. Nelson is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at Indiana State University.

About the Series

ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional Series

This series provides essential texts on teaching English as a second language and applied linguistics. It includes authored and edited volumes to be used as primary or supplementary texts in graduate-level and teacher training courses to enhance students’ and practicing teachers’ professional qualifications and knowledge. Each text is designed to promote the current and growing body of knowledge in applied linguistics and second language teaching, including advances in teacher education and the study of language.

Specifically, the series includes, but is not limited to, current uses of applied linguistics research in teaching a variety of second language skills, such as reading, writing, speaking and listening; materials and curriculum design; literacy; English for academic purposes; and research methods.

The texts also deal with broad domains of professional preparation related to socio-cultural perspectives and current issues/topics in teaching and learning a second language.

Books in the series benefit not only students, but experienced teachers, curriculum developers, teacher trainers, program administrators, and other second and foreign language professionals seeking to advance and update their knowledge and expertise.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY / English as a Second Language
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General