World Englishes explores the way in which the English language is developing and spoken around the world. Situated within the richly multilingual and multicultural postcolonial society of Hong Kong as well as in close proximity to other postcolonial societies in Asia, the Department of English is a leading research hub for the documentation and exploration of new varieties of English, including Asian Englishes such as Hong Kong English, China English, and Filipino English, among others.
Our internationally renowned scholars conduct cutting-edge research across several areas of world Englishes: Gerald Nelson is an internationally renowned researcher in corpus linguistics as well as grammar and semantics, and manages the Internet Grammar of English. He was the Coordinator of the International Corpus of English (ICE) from 2001 to 2017 and is still actively involved in the project. He has been a guest editor of World Englishes, the leading journal in this area of research, in 1996, 2004, and 2017.
Jette Hansen Edwards’ research has explored the native speaker construct in multilingual societies; the intelligibility of Asian Englishes; the phonological features of China English and Hong Kong English; and politics, attitudes, and youth identity in Hong Kong pre and post the Umbrella Movement. Her research on attitudes towards Hong Kong English have been cited in The Economist and she has written several invited articles on Hong Kong English and China English for the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. She has also produced two digital projects on world Englishes: English Accents Worldwide and The History of the English Language.
Jookyoung Jung’s research looks at Second Language Acquisition and English Language Teaching. Her work investigates the danger of falling into the "comparative fallacy (Bley-Vroman, 1983)" by relating L2 learners to native-speaker norms. Adopting the framework of task-based language teaching (TBLT), she further clarifies that the goal of language teaching is not to force learners to approach native-speaker competence, which is unattainable, but to assist them to function as fully competent L2 users outside of language classrooms.
Drawing on current theorizations of unequal Englishes, Ron Darvin foregrounds the social, geopolitical, and ideological issues that constitute the inequalities of English speakers in a globalized world. Using social class as a lens, his research on identity and investment examines how the acquisition of English is shaped by differential access to economic, cultural and social capital.
David Huddart has examined the relationship between world Englishes and postcolonial studies in his book Involuntary Associations: World Englishes and Postcolonial Studies (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2014).
Michael O’Sullivan’s research has also examined attitudes to English in Mainland China and Hong Kong in The Future of English in Asia (2014).