Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 2 February 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.



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A Critical Look into Basic Assumptions of Teaching English
as an International Language (EIL)

Gholam Reza Zarei, Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics


The present paper is intended to explore some controversies that prevail in Basic Assumptions in Teaching English as an International Language (EIL). It focuses on the assumptions supposed to underlie the new approach to the English language teaching referred to as EIL. Assumptions are evaluated from different perspectives and the problems are highlighted. It is attempted to show that the new position for the English Language cannot lead us to any secure place, supposed to be characteristically distinct from its predecessors.

Keywords: English language; English as an international language (EIL); Basic assumptions.


Drawing on the ideas of Smith (1978, 1981), and Nunan (1999), Talibinezhad and Aliakbari (2001), among others, have attempted to support a so-called new position for the English language teaching and learning across the globe. The main point is that the new conditions in the world require a new orientation towards the English language teaching, and thus the proper candidate is English as an International Language (EIL) as a viable substitute for the old EFL/ESL models.

To defend their stance, different authors enumerate and explain a number of assumptions, which are largely inconsistent, self-explanatory, and contradictory. This article is intended to shed light on some inherent problems existing in the assumptions provided to substantiate the proposed orientation. The assumptions are first reviewed and then the relevant problems are explored.

Points of Controversy

The following part presents the assumptions first and then they are reviewed. Attempts are made to show that the assumptions are not clearly formulated.

Assumption 1: EIL is universal

First, the assumption, as stated above, explains the global prevalence of English language. Therefore, the assumption is tautological and must be avoided. Moreover, the assumption is no more than the repetition of the statement to be made as the desired prospective position. As far as the function of an assumption is concerned, it should provide a ground on which to place the purpose. For example in the statement, "I think, therefore I am", thinking is the assumption for the second part to be realized. That EIL can serve as an assumption for EIL is simply a problem of circularity in the justification of that position. To make it clear, there is just one single proposition in the claim, namely, 'English as an International/universal Language', which is expected to serve both as the assumption and result.

Also, the description of the assumption cannot help much with the EIL as the substitute for the EFL/ESL. That English is widely used for a wide variety of purposes and by a larger number of non-native speakers is not debatable at all, but the point is EFL/ESL view has no claim to limit the use of the language so that the substitution, namely, the counter claim is justified.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Call for Papers for a Language in India Special Volume on
Autobiography and Biography in Indian Writing in English
| Call for Papers for a Special Volume on Indian Writing in English - Analysis of Select Novels of 2009-2010 | Hoping Against Hope: A Discourse on Perumal Murugan's Koolla Madari (Seasons of the Palm) | Ghanaian English: Spelling Pronunciation in Focus | The Relationship between Gaining Mastery on 'Content' (School Subject Matters) and 'Linguistic Competence Level in Second Language' through Immersion Program | Reader-centric and Text-centric Approaches to Novel - A Study of Intertextuality in Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence | Which One Speaks Better? The Field-Dependent or the Field-Independent? On the Effects of Field-Dependent/Field-Independent Cognitive Styles and Gender on Iranian EFL Learners' Speaking Performance | A Critical Look into Basic Assumptions of Teaching English as an International Language (EIL) | Digital Storytelling - A Case Study on the Teaching of Speaking to Indonesian EFL Students | The Reasons behind Writing Problems for Jordanian Secondary Students 2010-2011 | A Multidimensional Approach to Cross-Cultural Communication | A Study to Identify Problems Faced by the Heads of Secondary Schools in Kohat in North-Western Frontier Province, Pakistan | Go Beyond Education to Professionalism - Transition from Campus to Corporate | Impact of Students' Attitudes on their Achievement in English - A Study in the Yemeni Context - A Master's Degree Dissertation in TESL | Natural and Supernatural Elements in Arun Joshi's The City and the River | Pedagogical Values Obtained from a Language Class in an EFL Context - A Case Study from Indonesia | A New Tone in ELT - Positive Uses of Translation in Remedial Teaching and Learning | Training Dilemma: Analysis of Positive/Negative Feedback from the Workplace Setting in Pakistan | Learning Styles and Teaching Strategies: Creating a Balance | A Study on Evaluating the Discourse Skills of Engineering Students in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India | Syntax and Semantics Interface of Verbs | History Revisited in Oral History by Nadine Gordimer | Provision for Linguistic Diversity and Linguistic Minorities in India - A Masters Dissertation in Applied Linguistics and ELT | A Speech Act Analysis of Jane Eyre | Matriarchal and Mythical Healing in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day | Impact of Project Based Method on Performance of Students | Computer: A Device for Learning English Language - A Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages | Mobile Phone Culture and its Psychological Impacts on Students' Learning at the University Level | Review of English and Soft Skills by S. P. Dhanavel (Orient BlackSwan, Hyderabad, 2010) | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF FEBRUARY, 2011 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT. This document is better viewed if you open it online and then save it in your computer. After saving it in your computer, you can easily read all the pages from the saved document. | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Gholam Reza Zarei, Ph D in Applied Linguistics
English Language Center
Isfahan University of Technology
Isfahan, 84156-83111

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