Standard and Non-Standard English in Bangladesh: A Sociolinguistic Exploration of Linguistic Identity, Post-Colonial Legacy, and the Quest for Global Englishes


  • Abdul Awal Research Scholar Doctoral School of Humanities, University of Lodz, Poland.



Standard English, My English, Colonialism, Linguistic Inferiority Complex, non-standard English, Linguistics Human Rights.


The article delves into the ongoing discourse concerning Standard English (SE) and Non-Standard English in Bangladesh. Historically, the trend of learning Standard English in the country traces back to its colonial roots. The British colonization introduced and popularized English learning, imprinting its influence on both the language and its speakers. Such historical ties lead to pertinent questions about the relevance and position of Standard English, especially in the sphere of English Language Teaching. The discussion critiques the idea of  Standard English from a post-colonial perspective, particularly drawing connections between Standard English and linguistic dominance. Additionally, the concept of My English (ME) is brought forward as a counter to the hegemony of Standard English. A central theme of the article is the legitimacy of acknowledging local English forms within the umbrella of Global Englishes. It also touches upon socio-political factors that validate the acceptance of these regional English iterations. The research aims to illuminate English's role in Bangladesh’s local linguistic scene, probing its influence across various societal layers. It identifies particular linguistic and extra-linguistic elements affecting the categorization of English versions in the nation. Emphasizing the crucial role of education, wherein English serves as more than just a subject but a medium for functional proficiency, the article stresses the necessity for Bangladesh to define and embrace its distinct English variant in the larger framework of Global Englishes.


Abend, G. (2023). Words and Distinctions for the Common Good: Practical Reason in the Logic of Social Science. Princeton University Press.

Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G. & Tiffin, H. (1889). The Empire Writes Back. Routledge.

Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2000). Post-colonial Studies: The Key Concepts. Routledge.

Bauer, L. (2002). An Introduction to International Varieties of English. Edinburgh University Press.

Bhattacharjee, N. (2008). Developing Speaking Skill at Secondary and Higher Secondary Levels: Problems and Few Recommendations. Stamford Journal of English, 4, 15-29.

Bishop, H., Coupland, N., & Garrett, P. (2005). Conceptual accent evaluation: Thirty Years of accent prejudice in the UK. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, 37(1), 131-154.

Cheshire, J. (1984). Indigenous nonstandard English varieties and education. In P. Trudgill (Ed.), Language in the British Isles. Cambridge University Press.

Christen, S. (2008). Native or Non-native speakers. Who are the better English teachers? Retrieved from

Council of Europe (2001). Linguistic Diversity for Democratic Citizenship in Europe. Éditions du Conseil de l'Europe.

Crystal, D. (1995). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press.

Čubrović, B. & Paunović, T. (2009). Ta(l)king English Phonetics across frontiers. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Davies, A. (2003). The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality. Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Freeborn, D. (1998). From Old English to Standard English (2nd ed.). University of Ottawa Press.

Gimson, A. C. (1984). The RP accent. In P. Trudgill (Ed.), Language in the British Isles. Cambridge University Press.

Graham, G. F. (1869). A book about words. London.

Hickey, R. (2012). Standards of English: Codified Varieties around the World. Cambridge University Press.

Hoque, M. A. (2010). The Influence of the Local Varieties on the Sound Patterns of English: A Case Study of Bangladeshi Tertiary Students. IIUC Studies, 7, 197-220.

Hossain, M. M., Hasan, M. & Meraj, A. A. (2015). Redefining Bangladeshi Variety of English: Print and Electronic Media Perspective. International Journal of Advanced Research, 3(6), 1280-1286.

Ingram, P. D. (2009). Are Accents One of the Last Acceptable Areas for Discrimination? Journal of Extension, 47(1).

Irvine, J. T. & Gal, S. (2009). Language Ideology and Linguistic Differentiation. In A. Duranti (Ed.), Linguistic Anthropology: A Reader (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Kachru, B. B. (2005). Asian Englishes Beyond The Canon. Hong Kong University Press.

Kachru, Y. & Smith, L. E. (2008). Cultures, Contexts, And World Englishes. Routledge.

Kerswill, P. (2001). Mobility, meritocracy and dialect levelling: the fading (and phasing) out of Received Pronunciation. In P. Rajamäe & K. Vogelberg (Eds.), British studies in the new millennium: the challenge of the grassroots. University of Tartu.

Kerswill, P. (2006). RP, Standard English and the standard/non-standard relationship. In D. Britain (Ed.), Language in the British Isles (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Kubota, R. (2015). Unequal Englishes - The Politics of Englishes Today. Palgrave Macmillan.

Maxwell, A. (2018). When theory is a joke: The Weinreich witticism in Linguistics. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft, 28(2), 263-292.

Milroy, J. (2000). Historical description and the ideology of the standard language. In L. Wright (Ed.), The development of Standard English, 1300–1800. Theories, descriptions, conflicts. Cambridge University Press.

Milroy, L. (1999). Standard English and language ideology in Britain and the United States. In T. Bex & R. J. Watts (Eds.), Standard English. The widening debate. Routledge.

Mugglestone, L. (1995). ‘Talking Proper’. The rise of accent as social symbol. Clarendon Press.

Mugglestone, L. (2007). Talking Proper: The Rise of Accent as Social Symbol. Oxford Scholarship Online.

Pennycook, A. (1998). English And The Discourses Of Colonialism. Routledge.

Phillipson, R. (2009). Linguistic Imperialism Continued. Orient Blackswan Private Limited.

Rosewarne, D. (1984). Estuary English. Times Educational Supplement, 42, 19 October.

Schreier, D., Trudgill, P., Schneider, E. W., & Williams, J. P. (2010). The Lesser-Known Varieties of English. Cambridge University Press.

Searle, C. (1983) A common language. Race and Class, 25(2), 65-74.

SkutnabbKangas, T. (2000). Linguistic Genocide in Education—Or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights?. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Soboleva, S. (2015, Feb). Global Language: New Opportunities or Inferiority Complex. US-China Foreign Language, 13(2), 85-91.

Trudgill, P. (1999). Standard English: What it isn’t. In T. Bex, & R. J. Watts (Eds.), Standard English: The widening debate (pp. 117-128). London: Routledge.

Watts, R. J. (2011). Language Myths and the History of English. Oxford Scholarship Online.

Widdowson, H. G. (1994). The Ownership of English. TESOL Quarterly, 377-388.

Wyld, H. C. (1934). The best English. Proceedings of the Society for Pure English, 4, 603-21.




How to Cite

Abdul Awal , translator. “Standard and Non-Standard English in Bangladesh: A Sociolinguistic Exploration of Linguistic Identity, Post-Colonial Legacy, and the Quest for Global Englishes”. Creative Saplings, vol. 2, no. 08, Aug. 2023, pp. 1-20,

Similar Articles

1-10 of 214

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.