Eugene Green and Charles F. Meyer

Introduction

1 Perspectives

In a discussion of his notion of world language systems, de Swaan (2010: 57) characterizes English as a “hypercentral language… that connects the supercentral languages with one another and therefore constitutes the pivot of the world language system.” English has achieved this status, he continues, because “of the many multilinguals who have it in their repertoire” (72). But as English has spread worldwide, the “repertoire” that speakers possess has become increasingly heterogeneous, largely because of the many contexts in which English is now used: not just in schools, businesses, or social interactions but in chat rooms on the internet as well as through social media such as Twitter, ...

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