Reconceptualising Authenticity for English as a Global Language

Reconceptualising Authenticity

This is a post with information about my forthcoming book from Multilingual Matters.

This book examines the concept of authentic English in today’s world, where cultures are in constant interaction and the English language works as a binding agent for many cross-cultural exchanges. It offers a comprehensive review of decades of debate around authenticity in language teaching and learning and attempts to synthesise the complexities by presenting them as a continuum. This continuum builds on the work of eminent scholars and combines them within a flexible framework that celebrates the process of interaction whilst acknowledging the complexity and individual subjectivity of authenticity. Authenticity is approached as a complex dynamic construct that can only be understood by examining it from social, individual and contextual dimensions, in relation to actual people. Authenticity is a problem not just for language acquisition but one which affects us as individuals belonging to society.

Use this discount code at the Multilingual Matters website in order to get 50% off and free worldwide shipping
Use this discount code at the Multilingual Matters website in order to get 50% off and free worldwide shipping

What has plagued the notion of authenticity to date has been an ‘alphabet soup’ of abstract terms and simplistic references that attempt to define what it is and why it is important in L2 teaching and learning. In a compelling personal voice, Pinner masterfully unpacks the complexities of authenticity while re-positioning it on a continuum that is inclusive of global Englishes and relative to individuals’ selves and perceived position in rapidly changing societies.

Karen E. Johnson, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

This wide-ranging book offers a timely reassessment and reassertion of the notion of authenticity in English language education, decisively unshackling it from its ‘classic’ mooring in native-speaker models. Richard Pinner convincingly argues that authenticity – viewed as relevant to the socially dynamic contexts within which people are learning and using English today – is a more important goal for educators than ever before.

Richard Smith, University of Warwick, UK

Here is the Table of Contents and detailed breakdown of the book


1              Introduction to the book

1.1           Premises of this book

1.2          Relevance of Authenticity to Language Learning

1.3           Structure of the book

2             Existential, philosophical and theoretical underpinnings

2.1          Introduction

2.2          Existentialism and Authenticity: the meaning of life and self?

2.2.1       The authentic self

2.3          The innateness of language and the nature of authenticity

2.3.1       The individual side of authenticity

2.3.2      The dynamics of Second Language Identity

2.3.3       The social side of authenticity

2.4         Complex Dynamic Systems and Chaos Theory

2.5          Conclusion

3              English as a Global Language

3.1           Introduction

3.2          Globalisation and English as a disembodied language

3.3          Global English

3.3.1       The Quirk-Kachru Debate

3.4          Ownership and the Pareto Principle

3.4.1       Native-speakerism

3.5          The affective effect of authenticity

3.5.1       on learning

3.5.2      and teaching

3.6          Authenticity and international models

3.7          Conclusion

4             Authenticity in Language Teaching

4.1          Introduction

4.2         Historical overview and development

4.2.1      The less-popular sibling

4.2.2      The ‘classic’ definition

4.3          The numerous definitions of authenticity

4.3.1       Classroom vs. ‘reality’

4.3.2      Natural language

4.4         Authenticity as an Approach

4.4.1      Culture

4.4.2     Currency

4.4.3      Challenge

4.4.4     The domains of authenticity: texts, tasks and language in use

4.5         Authenticity and the dearth of empirical research

4.5.1      Authenticity and motivation

4.5.2      Authenticity and second language acquisition   Authenticity vs Textbooks  Authenticity and corpora

4.5.3      Authenticity in research literature

4.6         Conclusion

5             The Authenticity Continuum

5.1          Introduction

5.2          A pivotal period in the evolution of authenticity

5.3          The authenticity continuum

5.3.1       Practical Examples

5.3.2      Empowerment

5.3.3       The other authenticity continuum

5.4         The paradox of authenticity

5.5          Conclusion

6             Authenticity in bilingual educational contexts

6.1          Introduction

6.2          The changing face of language education programs

6.3          Authenticity of purpose: Bilingual Educational models

6.3.1       Content and Language Integrated Learning

6.3.2      English as a Medium of Instruction

6.4         Conclusion

7              New Media as a catalyst for authenticity

7.1           Introduction

7.2          Language education and communication technology

7.3          Authenticity online

7.4          Increased social contact and awareness

7.5          Increased opportunities for exchange

7.6          Increased exposure to language and culture

7.7          Games and authenticity

7.8          Conclusion

8             Conclusion

8.1          Directions for research

9             References