International Students’ Linguistic Awareness of Malaysian English and its Impact on Intercultural Communication Effectiveness

Shadi Khojastehrad, Madina Sattarova


With the rapid development of communication and transportation technology, globalization has brought people of diverse cultures, ethnicities, geographies, and religions together. English is now the primary lingua franca, which is used to communicate with speakers of different native languages throughout the world. However, today the world is faced with the rapid emergence of many new Englishes with their own specific features and markers. Thus, learning only standard British and American English and lack of familiarity with the other English language varieties causes misperception, negative attitude, and communication failure with the speakers of those certain varieties. The present research is aimed at exploring how much international students are aware of Malaysian English and whether the level of their linguistic awareness affects their intercultural communication effectiveness with Malaysians. The data was collected from a survey administered to 372 international students who were studying at three selected public and private universities in Malaysia. Three focus group discussions followed up the survey to triangulate the quantitative findings.  The findings suggest that a majority of the students appear to be moderately communicating ineffectively with Malaysians, and their lack of familiarity with Malaysian English makes them to perceive it as a wrong deviated form of English. The results also reveal that the respondents’ misperception of Malaysian English influences their intercultural communication effectiveness negatively.

Keywords: Malaysian English, Linguistic Awareness, Intercultural Communication Effectiveness, International Students, World Englishes

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