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The Variability of Current World Englishes by Charles F. Meyer, Eugene Green

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Gerald Nelson

The circle of English: an exploration of the “core” and “periphery” of world Englishes

Gerald Nelson, Department of English, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, e-mail: geraldanelson@gmail.com

1 Introduction

The English language has often been imagined as a “circle”, radiating outwards from a central “core”. In the Introduction to the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (1884), the editor James Murray wrote:

That vast aggregate of words and phrases which constitute the Vocabulary of English-speaking men presents, to the mind that endeavours to grasp it as a definite whole, the aspect of one of those nebulous masses familiar to the astronomer, in which a clear and unmistakable ...

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