English Language Education Department (ELED)’s Studium Generale, a regular academic forum to share and discuss updated issues on English and English language instruction, is finally back after a few months’ break. The event was successfully held on April 6, 2022, under the title ‘Global Englishes Language Teaching: A Paradigm Shift’, inviting Hepy Adityarini, Ph.D. from the English Language Department of Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta as the distinguished speaker. In her opening remarks, Anesti Budi Ermerawati, S.Pd, M.Hum., the Vice Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs, officially opened the studium generale with a warming up thoughts on global Englishes and English language instruction and wished the students insightful and fruitful discussion on global Englishes.
The studium generale was designed to be interactive. Opening the session, a video entitled ‘Mind Your Language’ was played, then the participants were asked to give their opinion about the content of the video. Through the video and the follow-up questions, the speaker aimed for the students to have a fundamental understanding of the spread of English and its implications for English Language Teaching (ELT) as well as to raise awareness of various dialects, accents, and the roles of English in ELT. In her presentation, she explained the stages of the English diaspora. She pointed out that English is in the fourth diaspora where it is used widely in almost every essential aspect and sector. As a result of its widespread use, English is now a global language or lingua franca that has so many new varieties. Corresponding to the various varieties of English, all varieties of English are regarded as equivalent and known as World Englishes. In this regard, the English language itself has no ownership, it’s like a free estate since it is now an international language. Consequently, English is used and focused on communication instead of focusing on the nationality of the speakers. Moreover, Hepy stated that there should be no ‘standard’ accent(s) that must be followed because every accent is just as good as the others.
The other interesting topic discussed in the studium generale was the paradigm of English as a lingua franca. This paradigm is flexible and humanist as it supports the diversity of World Englishes and everyone can bring their very own culture when interacting using the language. Moreover, Hepy indicated the major difference between traditional ELT and Global Englishes Language Teaching (GELT) which is, that native speakers are given the highest position and seen as superior in traditional ELT compared to in GELT context. She said, “One day, Indonesians can have our very own ‘Indonesian English’ as in Singlish in Singapore and Manglish in Malaysia.”
Wrapping up the studium generale, one of the participants voiced that it is very important and beneficial for the ELED students to be able to know there are varieties of Englishes seen from GELT context. Hayu, one of the participants said, “I got a bunch of new things from this session and the topic was very insightful”. Closing the Studium Generale, Hepy stated, “Standard is hard to define. Why do we concern too much about accents if we know that a language carries the identity of its speakers?”
We are not called to forget and feel ashamed of how we speak English. Instead, we are called to be bold in speaking English in whatever varieties developed in our territories. [PBI/ch]