"The emergence of English as an international language in a number of domains has implications which are becoming a matter of widespread discussion among both linguists and the general public. In the face of the increasing number of the functions for which English is regarded as more useful or convenient than any other language, and the growth in the numbers of its speakers and learners - it is only slowly that we are beginning to sort out the practical and theoretical implications for the early part of the new millennium of this unprecedented linguistic predominance" (Honey, 1996:99). Despite its high status, the standard of English teaching and learning, especially in severely underfunded black South African schools has suffered rapid deterioration. At the moment, there are no indications that the downward slide can be halted. The nonnative English language debate is compounded by arguments rejecting the pedagogic notion of "Standard English" and advocating a linguistic ethos which suggests that all forms of English are equal. This has resulted in the proliferation of terms such as "black English", "Ghanaian English", "Indian English" etc. which are claimed to be on an equal footing with "British" and "American" English or standard English (Ahulu, 1992). This thesis makes the important point that both "educated" black and white people in South Africa make use of standard English. But the concept of standard English must be properly understood. Quirk at the 1995 English Academy conference, was pushing the term "general English" as an alternative name for "standard English." A variety of English such as British or American English incorporates a standard variety that is encoded in grammars, dictionaries and guides of usage, taught in educational institutions, used to print and often found in the usage of those regarded as educated users. However, those who express "concern for the recognition and acceptance of the English language standard in the education system are sometimes accused of ignoring socio-linguistic realities" (Wright, 1996: 154). This thesis discusses several language features which are peculiar to English as a second language (ESL). These features have been claimed to yield the characteristics of a "South African black English." The analysis shows that these characteristic features are not consistently or reliably realised. In fact according to current research it would seem that most "features are actually teacher-influenced" (Buthelezi, 1989:40). Nonstandard ESL features indicate according to Wright (1995: 8) "a symptom of the sad failure of our education system rather than a sign of the creative evolution of a vigorous new national variety of English." Wright maintains that "to advocate the institutionalising of non-standard English-attributable in large measure to apartheid's legacy of low educational standards - would be neither radical nor progressive, but a profoundly conservative attitude, imposing and enshrining mediocrity." The debate about "black English" in South Africa has not yet gained momentum even though it is part of the common currency. There seems to be a powerful conventional opinion in influential circles that claims that there is a black English in South Africa. The possibility exists that a local variety of English in South Africa may ultimately emerge. But the internationally viable variety will still be needed, one hopes by an ever growing portion of the population as education and opportunity increase. Standard English is the form of English that is taught in South African schools and tertiary institutions. In other words, it includes all users of the "educated" form of English all over the world and it also fulfils more and broader language functions than the nonstandard form. The pedagogic notion of standard English, however, does not imply refusal to accept the existence of non-standard varieties of English or of features in colloquial use that are non-standard and geographically or culturally specific. It is all the more important according to Ahulu (1994: 26) for those concerned with education, especially "the curriculum designers, subject advisors and textbooks writers, to know the forms of English they should consider and emphasize as the educational target, which should subsequently guide teachers and examiners." The evidence we have in the field of "black English" according to Ahulu's (1992) findings in Ghana largely consists of coinages and other lexical modifications, and the listing of isolated examples of grammatical divergence. What is referred to as "educated black English" is nothing more that standard English with an injection of vocabulary items of South African origin. Such phenomena as coinage, lexical borrowing are processes by which standard English is expanding its lexicon as an international language. The inferior conditions of years of underfunding and relentless application of the underlying philosophy of apartheid education have had a critical and profound bearing on the state of ESL teaching. For professional careers, the country's economic development and membership of the international scene, to mention but a few requirements, standard English is essential. Teacher training institutions in South Africa are at the moment going through a rationalisation and restructuring process and they need to review their ESL curriculum and programmes. These teacher training colleges should produces well equipped ESL teachers who are capable of dealing with the language dynamics in the ESL classroom situation.