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David Graddol
Birth: 1953
United Kingdom
School/tradition: Linguistics

David Graddol (born 1953) is a British linguist[1] who has worked in applied linguistics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and history of linguistics. He is perhaps best known for his 1997 book The future of English?, published by the British Council, in which he offers scenarios for how English as a world language may develop. Most notably, he points out that native speakers of English are or will soon be outnumbered by those who speak English as a second or foreign language. In an article that focuses more specifically on this issue, he states the following:

The decline of the native speaker in numerical terms is likely to be associated with changing ideas about the centrality of the native speaker to norms of usage. [...] Large numbers of people will learn English as a foreign language in the 21st century and they will need teachers, dictionaries and grammar books. But will they continue to look towards the native speaker for authoritative norms of usage?

—"The decline of the native speaker", pages 67-68

Graddol's views about English as a world language are similar to, though not identical with, those held by his linguist colleague David Crystal.

He graduated from the University of York with a BA in Language and Linguistics in 1975, also in Sociology in 1983.[2]


  1. ^ Spoken everywhere but at what cost? The Guardian 20 April 2005
  2. ^ "The Future of English". Grapevine (Alumni Office, University of York) (Spring/Summer 1998): 20. 
  • Graddol, David (1997). The future of English? A guide to forecasting the popularity of the English language in the 21st century. London: British Council. Available for free from the website of the British Council [1].
  • Graddol, David (1999). The decline of the native speaker. In Graddol, David/Meinhof, Ulrike (eds.). English in a Changing World. AILA Review 13, 57-68.
  • Graddol, David (2006). English Next. London: British Council. Available for free from the website of the British Council [2].

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