Linguistic Variation in Swedish EFL-Textbooks : A Content Analytical Study of the Representation of Englishes in Swedish Upper Secondary School Materials

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: Nowadays, becoming proficient in merely one variety of English may not be sufficient, since this does not guarantee an ability to communicate with the vast majority of English speakers worldwide (Modiano, 2009; Fang & Ren, 2018). Despite this, studies show that European ELT still largely focus on certain varieties over others (Modiano, 2009); hence, it is interesting to study the materials used within this context. The present study is intended to contribute to research within the field of World Englishes and ELT. The purpose of the study is to investigate linguistic variation and language ideology in teaching materials used in the course of English 5 within Swedish upper secondary schools. For this purpose, a content analytical approach has been applied for data collection, combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Two EFL-textbooks, Blueprint A 3.0 and Viewpoints 1, have been analyzed and three interviews have been conducted with EFL teachers working in Swedish upper secondary schools. The data elicited through the study shows that linguistic variation in English is limited within the two textbooks, and that when speakers of non-standard varieties appear in the textbooks they are presented in a controversial manner. Moreover, the interviews conducted with the teachers yielded insights into teachers’ perspectives on the importance of exposing students to different varieties of English. The perspectives offered through the interviews imply that not all teachers consider the knowledge of dialectal and social variation within the English language to be of importance, despite that it is, in fact, an objective set for students taking the course of English 5. In general, the findings suggest that the linguistic representation within Swedish teaching materials and practices still favor certain Englishes, i.e. British and American English, over others. 

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