Norms and Forms: Normativity and English in the world

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Using language is an inherently normative activity; even linguistic creativity relies on the transgression of norms for some of its effects. The concept of norms can thus be seen as central to studies of English in the world. It is, however, a concept with various meanings and uses. These include the statistical norms of corpus studies, linguists' identifications of norms and varieties, and non-linguists' views about language. There are also the normative processes, education being one, that play a role in creating and maintaining norms. In this presentation I will review the concepts of norms and normativity, referring to phonological data from different varieties and considering certain practical and theoretical questions. For example, what scope is there for employing local or lingua franca norms in language teaching and testing? And given the complex and contested nature of norms, what role do they play in studies of English in the world? A dynamic view of norms within a conceptual framework of language as a complex adaptive system provides perspectives for theorizing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
EventChanging English: Contacts and Variation: CHANGE 2013 - Finland, Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 10 Jun 201312 Jun 2013


ConferenceChanging English: Contacts and Variation
OtherUniversity of Helsinki
Internet address


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