The Oxford Guide to World English takes up where its "mother book", The Oxford Companion to the English Language, left off. Organized by continent, there are chapters on Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australasia, Oceania, and Antarctica. Tom McArthur covers the world's many varieties of English in an interconnected way and notes the ties that bind varieties and regions that are geographically far apart, as with: West African English and African American English;
Scots, Ulster Scots, the Scotch-Irish migrations to Appalachia in the US, and country and western music; and aspects of Australian, New Zealand, South African, and Falklands English as southern-hemisphere varieties.
The end result is a book that, while invaluable to specialist, is accessible and appealing to the non-specialist, and covers a vast spread of "Englishes" from Brummie, Cockney, Estuary, and RP in the UK to New York and New Orleans speech in the US and such other varieties as Indian English, Maori English, and West African Pidgin. A concluding chapter studies: the nature and power of large languages; such issues as gender and political correctness; the role, status, and nature of broken and fractured English; the worldwide English language teaching industry; and the issue of standardness,
considered both locally and globally.
This hugely comprehensive work provides a fascinating and novel
survey of English as both a pre-eminent "standard" world language and a family of vigorously diverse regional varieties.