UK national in Lanka honored by the Queen

Michael Meyler, a British National living inSri Lanka, has been honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her Birthday Honours List for 2012, the British High Commission in Colombo said.

Meyler, a part-time teacher at the British Council in Colombo, has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of theBritish Empire) for his services to the English Language.

Michael Meyler came to Sri Lankain 1985 as an English teacher. Since 1995 he has worked at the British Council in Colombo, where he teaches beginners’ classes in Sinhala and Tamil. His book, A Dictionary of Sri Lankan English, was published in 2007. He has also published a trilingual children’s book and DVD called Keerthihan’s Kite, and illustrated flashcards of the Sinhala and Tamil alphabets. He is currently working on a trilingual learners’ dictionary of colloquial Sinhala, English and Tamil.

A Dictionary of Sri Lankan English contains approximately 2,500 examples of words and expressions which are characteristic of the English spoken inSri Lanka. While originally intended for Sri Lankan students and teachers of English, foreigners living in Sri Lanka and anyone with an interest in international varieties of English, it has also proved popular with non-specialist Sri Lankan speakers of English, by drawing attention to the unique character of the English spoken here. The book illustrates how the English language evolves and adapts to different cultural contexts.

“I am amazed and very grateful to receive this unexpected honour,” said Michael Meyler. “The main thing I would like to think the book has achieved is to raise awareness of Sri Lankan English among learners, teachers and speakers of English in Sri Lanka, by bringing it out of the academic realm into the public domain. It certainly seems to have sparked a fair amount of debate on the subject.”

Meyler holds a BA (Honours) in Modern and Medieval Languages (German and French) from the University of Cambridge, as well as professional qualifications in teaching English as a foreign language. He is an active participant in the English language cultural scene in Sri Lanka.: he was on the judging panel for the 2008 Gratiaen Prize (Sri Lanka’s most prestigious award for indigenous English-language literature) and he has participated in the internationally acclaimed Galle Literary Festival and acted as a moderator for its events.