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

Hall, Christopher J (2014) Moving beyond accuracy: from tests of English to tests of 'Englishing'. ELT Journal, 68 (4). pp. 376-385.

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Abstract

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: 10.1093/elt/ccu016
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
School/Department: School of Languages & Linguistics
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1063

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