English - Elective 3, topic 3: Postcolonial accents of English

Course content

This module investigates the relationship between British (and, to a lesser extent, American) colonialism and the rise of English as a global language. We shall examine ways in which the history of British colonialism may help to explain structural differences and similarities between various varieties of English, and we will begin by looking at those varieties of English that became established in the New World from the seventeenth century onwards (North America, the Caribbean). We will then proceed to consider those varieties of English that emerged in the southern hemisphere as a result of British settlements during the nineteenth century (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa), but also those areas that were not subject to large settlements but which nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, have adopted English as an important second language (central Africa, South-East Asia, the Pacific). Finally, we will consider the ways in which such “postcolonial” accents of English have affected Inner Circle Englishes, particularly in London.

While the aim of this module is to make students aware of the relationship between colonialism and linguistic variation in English, the focus of the module is firmly on linguistics. As indicated in the title of the course, special attention will be paid to the description and analysis of matters pertaining to pronunciation, for which reason the module is particularly suited for students who enjoyed the obligatory course in Phonetics in the second semester.




Literature (subject to revision)

Collins, B. & I.M. Mees. 2013. Practical Phonetics and Phonology. 3rd ed. London & New York: Routledge.

Jenkins, J. 2014. Global Englishes: A Resource Book for Students. 3rd ed. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kortmann, Bernd & E.W. Schneider (eds). 2004. A Handbook of Varieties of English. Volume 1: Phonology. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter [access via kb.dk].

Wells, J.C. 1982. Accents of English. Cambridge: CUP [access via kb.dk].

Wells, J.C. 2008. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 3rd ed. Harlow: Pearson/ Longman.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • English
  • 204,75