The Ownership of English in Japanese Secondary Schools



Sociolinguistic studies of English in various parts of the world suggest the increasing role of so-called nonnative speakers in defining the forms and functions of the English language. Their role is crucial especially in English as an international language (EIL) contexts, where the interactions do not necessarily involve native speakers of English. This view, however, does not seem to be as widespread among the users of EIL in the expanding circle as it is among scholars. A qualitative case study of Japanese secondary school students suggests that, although they perceive English as an international language in a sense that it is being used internationally, they do not believe it belongs internationally. The author questions the appropriateness of this view vis-à-vis the current status and function of EIL and suggests ways to raise awareness of English varieties and better prepare students for the use of English as an international language.