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Naming and defining in world Englishes

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Abstract

This paper offers a taxonomy of the names used within world Englishes studies to refer to the object of investigation at the heart of the discipline. With the emergence of English as a global language, and with the concomitant increase in scholarship that critically studies this emergence, there has been a proliferation of names used to refer to the language, each of which represents a distinct theoretical stance towards the contemporary study of English. This paper analyses the categories used to subdivide the field, considers the functions performed by the distinctions made within this taxonomy, and examines the theoretical motivation behind these acts of naming. In analysing the structure of this taxonomy, the paper considers what this multiplicity of acts of naming suggests both about the current state of the discipline of world Englishes studies, as well as the nature of the entity that it takes as its object of study.

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