1. A non-technical term for English when the language at large is contrasted with a usage, variety, dialect, or register: That's Cockney; it isn't general English.
2. A semi-technical term for a course in English, usually as a mother tongue or in an English-medium school, within a framework of general education, usually teaching listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
3. In LINGUISTICS, a range of English that includes the STANDARD but contrasts with specific accents and DIALECTS. The British phonetician John C. Wells contrasts General English (capitalized) and traditional-dialect (lower case): ‘Within General English … there are non-standard varieties in which one says I couldn't see no one and Peter done it rather than the standard I couldn't see anyone and Peter did it’ (Accents of English, volume 1, 1982).
4. Also English for General Purposes. A term in language teaching for a broadly based, usually long-term EFL or ESL course, in contrast to English for Specific Purposes (Business English, English for Medical Purposes, etc.). Compare STANDARD ENGLISH.
"GENERAL ENGLISH." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 17, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/general-english
"GENERAL ENGLISH." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved January 17, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/general-english
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