World Englishes  book cover
3rd Edition

World Englishes

ISBN 9781138487659
Published June 17, 2019 by Routledge
256 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The third edition of World Englishes provides an engaging overview of the global variations in vocabulary, grammar, phonology and pragmatics of English as it is used worldwide. This book introduces the principles of linguistic variation and provides coverage on the roots of English, the spread of English, variations of English as a second language and trends for the future.

Thoroughly updated throughout in line with recent research, this third edition now also includes:

  • 43 audio examples of speakers of native (17) and of non-native (26) English reflecting the global variety of the language, available to download from;
  • descriptions of selected twenty-first century developing varieties including Chinese English, Russian English and Vietnamese English; 
  • greater linguistic detail on second-language English in many areas; 
  • improved and updated descriptions of first-language varieties; 
  • a new framework for describing lexical variation; 
  • full discussion throughout of English in social media.

Offering a thorough and detailed descriptive account of all the main varieties of English across the globe, World Englishes provides a balanced discussion of political issues and the sociolinguistic background to variation in English spoken and written, face-to-face, on paper and online, in the twenty-first century. This book is essential reading for students approaching this topic for the first time.

Table of Contents



IPA chart

1 The roots of English

2 The spread of English

3 Variation in English

4 The Inner circle

5 The Outer circle

6 The Expanding circle

7 Beyond the circles

Wells’ Standard lexical sets

Glossary of linguistic terms



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Gunnel Melchers is Professor Emerita in the English Department at Stockholm University. Her research has been devoted to regional and social variation, with special reference to the north of England and Scotland’s Northern Isles.

Philip Shaw is Professor Emeritus in the English Department at Stockholm University. He has published within a wide range of areas of applied linguistics, particularly with a focus on academic and business English, and vocabulary learning among advanced students, and in World Englishes. 

Peter Sundkvist is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Stockholm University. His research interests concern phonology, phonetics, and dialectology, relating to varieties of English and Germanic languages more generally. Most of his empirical work has focused on the Shetland Islands and such topics as Shetland Scots and Scottish Standard English.


'I thoroughly recommend the third edition of this excellent introductory textbook on World Englishes. The new edition comes with an expanded set of speaker interviews, adding, for example, speakers from Cork in Ireland to Uganda. This allows readers and listeners to make comparisons between the different varieties of English illustrated here. It is written in an extremely accessible style and will be of great value to undergraduate students of the subject.'

Andy Kirkpatrick, Griffith University, Australia