In this position paper, we take up David Deterding’s 2008 call to think more carefully about the differences across varieties of English that have developed as a product of settler influence (e.g., Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, United States) versus those in which the Indigenous languages continue to influence lexis, phonology, morphosyntax, and discourse-pragmatics (e.g., India, Nigeria, Singapore). For us, this distinction is fundamentally rooted in the types of colonialism that characterize nations. The delineation is not simply a matter of sociopolitical optics—it directly informs the developmental pathway a variety may follow. We propose that “postcolonial Englishes” is an inaccurate cover term, one that glosses over important ecological distinctions and places varieties on a continuum when they are better considered separate evolutionary contexts.

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