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.
Settler Colonial Englishes Are Distinct from Postcolonial Englishes
derek denis is an assistant professor in the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga. His research focuses on the development of Canadian English and the social and linguistic mechanisms of language change in general. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
alexandra d’arcy is associate professor of linguistics and director of the Sociolinguistics Research Lab at the University of Victoria. She specializes in variation and change in varieties of English. E-mail: email@example.com.