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The Alternative –Our Vs. –Or in the Outer Varieties of English Worldwide (pp.67-85)

Marta Pacheco-Franco

Universidad de Málaga


Minor changes in the distribution of the orthographic variants -our and -or in British and in American English raise the question of competition between these two forms. There already exists a myriad of studies assessing this phenomenon for the varieties of the inner and of the expanding circle. Nevertheless, the orthography of the outer circle has been systematically ignored. This paper thus presents a corpus-driven analysis of the distribution of the pair in eight varieties of Asian English, all belonging to the outer circle. The aim is to assess whether the process of linguistic competition underway elsewhere is also ongoing in these varieties, and to enquire into the factors that enable it. The source material for the investigation has been drawn from the corpus of Global Web English, which houses data for India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Hong Kong. The study offers the overall quantitative distribution of the suffixes in the varieties in question, as well as the data by text type. These will be interpreted from the frameworks of Postcolonial Englishes put forward by Schneider (2007) and Kachru (2009), which will determine the significance of the competition, if applicable. 

Keywords: orthography; Asian English; outer circle; competition.


Marta Pacheco-Franco is a young researcher based at the University of Málaga. She holds a degree on English Studies, and a postgraduate degree on the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language. This led her to work as a Spanish assistant at the University of Guelph, in Canada. After such an experience, she decided to pursue an academic career on English studies; more specifically, on historical linguistics.

e-mail address: mpachecof95@gmail.com


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