The growing interest in English requires the need for a new approach to its teaching.  This new orientation is called English as an International Language (EIL). In this article we will discuss several assumptions which characterize the main approaches to be taken while teaching English. 

English is an international language

As an international language English is one of the most important means for acquiring access to the world’s intellectual and technical resources. It has spread across the world through English colonies. Nowadays, English is considered the main means of scientific, technological, and trade language. 

English as International Language  (EIL) is descriptive 

This assumption focuses on the functional character of EIL. The fact that this assumption focuses on the functions of the language rather than on the form can be welcomed if we take into account the tight native speaker-based forms. However, this side of language teaching has been already embraced in the communicative paradigm of EFL/ESL which means that the context where the language is used is getting more and more important for the effective communicative process. 

Interactors in EIL are Unpredictable 

In the main approaches of English teaching the frame of reference is native speaker, the authors do not specify the target interactors as the native or non-native speakers whatsoever. However, the nature, terms and conditions of upcoming interactions are of utmost important in the communication process. It is noteworthy that the setting of goals, specifying of situations, and determining of the prospective interactors for the sake of teaching and learning should remain part and parcel of any organized syllabus, no matter it is called EFL/ESL or EIL. In the organization of academic syllabus one should include characteristics of non-native speech should also be taken into account. 

Both Native and Non-native Speakers Need Training in EIL

With the internalization of the English language, there have been set different “standards” by native and non-native speakers of English.  

Today native speakers use English quite frequently with other non-native speakers and they need specific training for that. Native English speakers should study English as an international language if they plan to interact in English with non-natives or with other native speakers who use a different national variety. It is important for the individuals working in the field of second language acquisition to note that though a good command of English grammar, lexis, and phonology is necessary to facilitate international communication, it may not be sufficient. Accordingly, both native as well as non-native English speakers should have assistance in their use of English for international communication because of the different functions of English across cultures.

To sum up, as a global language, English should no longer be considered as a property of its native speakers. The existence of different varieties for English doesn’t allow to limit the use of English only to its native variety. Alternatively, students are suggested that they should get familiar with different varieties, native and non-native. EIL curriculum should include varieties of English spoken by different native or non-native speakers. As far as the culture is concerned, the culture of native speakers can no longer be imposed as the main axis in teaching EIL. The intercultural and cross-cultural spectors should be widely taken into account as well. 

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