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Moving beyond accuracy: from tests of English to tests of 'Englishing'

Hall, Christopher J ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9038-1238 (2014) Moving beyond accuracy: from tests of English to tests of 'Englishing'. ELT Journal, 68 (4). pp. 376-385.

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This article examines how English is conceptualized in the domain of testing, and particularly the tendency to identify the concepts of ‘standard English’ and ‘native English’ with ‘the language itself’. I argue that such a monolithic view is inconsistent with the diversity of Englishes attestable across both native and non-native users and uses, and that this undermines the inclusion of accuracy criteria in English language tests. Adopting an alternative ‘plurilithic’ orientation, I challenge the traditional view on both cognitive and social grounds, arguing that the Englishes encountered and appropriated by non-native speakers will inevitably be qualitatively different from ‘standard English’ models, and that the effectiveness of the resources learners do develop should be assessed, where appropriate, independently of linguistic criteria. I conclude that a shift is required from tests of English to tests of ‘Englishing’: from testing how people use the language to testing what they can do with it.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccu016
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1063

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