Worlds of English

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This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.


Worlds of English

ENGL 4372EED Worlds of English is a 12-credit-unit, senior-level course in several English-related degree programmes. The original course — U214 Worlds of English Language — was developed by the UK Open University.


Excluded combination



Course aims

This course aims to provide students with:

  • an understanding of the history of English and its development as a global language;
  • a critical appreciation of the contemporary uses of English in a range of social and cultural contexts;
  • opportunities to analyse spoken, written and multimodal English;
  • an understanding of how English is promoted around the world, the controversies surrounding the politics and economics of such decisions and their impacts on other languages and people who speak them; and
  • a perspective on their own English language experiences, including developing their own communication skills.

Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs)

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. outline the history and development of English as an international language;
  2. identify and compare contemporary varieties of English spoken in different parts of the world;
  3. explore the use of English in different social and cultural contexts — in everyday conversation, business and trade, and as a literary language;
  4. analyse stylistic, social and political issues surrounding the creative and literary use of English;
  5. compare how English is learnt monolingually and bilingually in different cultural contexts;
  6. critically assess the pedagogical, cultural, political and business issues surrounding the use and position of English in migration, education, language policies and commercial activity; and
  7. investigate English in the media and the extent to which global technology affects its use.

Section/PartTopicsStudy weeks
Part 1History and development of English
Varieties of English
English as a global language
The use of English and other languages
11 weeks
Part 2Learning English
Achieving things in English
Discourse about English
English and technology
English and creativity
11 weeks
Part 3Politics of global English10 weeks
Total32 weeks
(year-long course)


Alignment of CILOs and sections/parts


d2, 3


Teaching and learning

There are fifteen 2-hour tutorials which add up to 30 contact hours in this year-long course.

There are two assessment methods for the course: continuous assessment and a final examination.


Continuous assessment (assignments)

There are six assignments, of which the best five will be counted towards the overall continuous assessment score. This continuous assessment is worth 50% of the total course mark.


Final examination

Students are required to answer four out of the six questions provided in the final examination. The examination lasts for three hours and is worth 50% of the total course result.

To earn a pass on the course, students must attain a pass in both the continuous assessment and the final examination.


Alignment of assessment items and learning outcomes


AssignmentsLearning outcomes
3  ÖÖ  Ö
4  ÖÖÖ Ö
5  ÖÖÖ  
6 ÖÖ  ÖÖ


Learning outcomes
3  ÖÖ  Ö
4  ÖÖÖ Ö
5  ÖÖÖ  
6 ÖÖ  ÖÖ

There are three textbooks for the three parts of the course.


Part 1

Seargeant, P and Swann, J (Eds) (2012) English in the World: History, Diversity, Change, Routledge / Open University.

This book examines the history of English from its origins in the fifth century to the present-day status of being a global language, together with the dynamic diversity of present-day varieties of English found throughout the world. Throughout, the focus is on the international nature of English and its use alongside other languages in a diverse range of communities.


Part 2

Allington, D and Mayor, B (Eds) (2012) Communicating in English: Talk, Text, Technology, Routledge / Open University.

Exploring the complex relationship between communication, technology and the English language, this book looks at established topics such as rhetoric, language acquisition, and professional communication, as well as covering exciting new fields such as everyday creativity and digital media. It considers the way in which the English language is used today in different contexts and in many parts of the world, by both native and non-native speakers. Issues of language use in speech and writing, in work and play, and in persuading and informing, are explored and illustrated with data and readings from around the English-using world.


Part 3

Hewings, A and Tagg, C (Eds) (2012) The Politics of English: Conflict, Competition, Co-existence, Routledge / Open University.

The book discusses the ways in which people's language choices relate to the history, politics, and economies of their local context. The book covers topical issues including the role that English plays in shaping migratory patterns, the English teaching and publishing industries, and the dominance of English in the global media. Key theoretical concepts are introduced in an accessible manner, and readers are given an in-depth understanding of the roles that English and other languages play as people mediate relationships of competition, conflict and co-existence in today's globalised world. Throughout, the focus is on the international nature of English and its use alongside other languages in a range of contexts.

Baker, P (2010) Sociolingustics and Corpus Lingustics, Edinburgh: EUP.

Galloway, N and Rose, H (2015) Introducing Global Englishes, London: Routledge.

Goddard, C and Wierzbicka, A (2013) Words and Meanings: Lexical Semantics across Domains, Languages, and Cultures, Oxford University Press.

Hardy, J A and Friginal, E (2014) Corpus-based Sociolinguistics: A Guide for Students, London: Routledge.

Jenkin, J (2015) Global Englishes, London: Routledge.

Melchers, G and Shaw, P (2003) World Englishes, Kent: Hodder Arnold.

Tam, K K (2009) Englishization in Asia, Hong Kong: OUHK.

Watts, R J (2003) Politeness, Cambridge University Press.


Recommended journals

Intercultural Pragmatics

Journal of Politeness Research

World Englishes

Coming soon