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Dynamic Model

This is a model devised by the Austrian-German linguist Edgar W. Schneider to account for the development of English in former colonies of Britain. It stresses the manner in which overseas varieties of English have evolved in specific ecologies and strives to account for how certain features have emerged. The model stresses the essential interaction of social identities and linguistic forms, the nature of which accounts in large measure for the profiles of post-colonial Englishes. Contact occupies a central position in Schneider’s model, both between dialects present among settlers as well as between English speakers and those of indigenous languages at various colonial locations. Contact-induced change produced differing results depending on the social and demographic conditions under which it took place, i.e. on the local ecology, and on its linguistic triggers, e.g. code-switching, code-alternation, bilingualism or non-prescriptive adult language acquisition.

The model was first presented as an article in Language (Schneider 2003) and later in more detailed form in the monograph Postcolonial English (Schneider 2007). This model assumes former colonies went through various stages which can lead ultimately to the development and differentiation of independent endonormative varieties of English, though this stage has not been reached in all cases. Schneider also proposes that there is a shared underlying process driving the formation of postcolonial Englishes, a unilateral causal implication as follows: sociohistorical background > identity of early groups > sociolinguistic conditions of communication and contact > resulting features of the emerging post-colonial variety.

Schneider identifies a sequence of five stages for the development of post-colonial Englishes:

Phase 1: foundation - dialect mixture and koineisation (for locations with multiple dialect inputs)
Phase 2: exonormative stabilization - a ‘British-plus’ identity for the English-speaking residents when the colony is established and has secured its position vis vis the colonial home country, mostly England (though this was the United States in the case of The Philippines)
Phase 3: nativization involving the emergence of local patterns, often associated with political independence or the striving for this
Phase 4: endonormative stablization, e.g. ‘national self-confidence’ with codification, usually soon after independence
Phrase 5: differentiation - the birth of new dialects, internal developments now linked to internal socioethnic distribution processes

Further issues considered in Schneider’s model include the distinction of settler and indigenous strands in the early stages of new varieties, the impact of accommodation and the importance of identity formation.

In recent years, Schneider has developed the notion of ‘transnational attraction’ (see Schneider 2014, 2017) to account for the manner in which forms of English interact across national borders in today’s globalised world.


Schneider, Edgar W. 2003. ‘The dynamics of New Englishes: From identity construction to dialect birth’, Language 79.2: 233-281.

Schneider, Edgar 2007. Postcolonial English. Varieties around the World. Cambridge: University Press.

Schneider, Edgar W. 2014. ‘New reflections on the evolutionary dynamics of world Englishes’, World Englishes 33.1: 9-32.

Schneider, Edgar W. 2017. ‘Models of English in the World’, in: Juhani Klemola, Markku Filppula and Devyani Sharma (eds) The Oxford Handbook of World Englishes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.