British High Commissioner presents MBE to Michael Meyler

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin hosted a ceremony and reception to present an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) award to Michael Meyler, on Tuesday, 9 October 2012.

Michael Meyler, a British national living in Sri Lanka, was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in her Birthday Honours List for 2012. Living here permanently since 1985, he is a leading figure in promoting the use of the English language in Sri Lanka. He is a passionate linguist and has gone far beyond his day-job in creatively promoting English language use and learning in Sri Lanka.

In 2007, Michael published ‘A Dictionary of Sri Lankan English’. This book records over 2,500 distinctive Sri Lankan usages of English words and phrases, recorded from conversations, literature and newspapers. He has also co-produced a tri-lingual childrens book, ‘Keerthihan’s Kite’ in English, Sinhala and Tamil, which aims to help Sri Lanka’s three linguistic communities learn each other’s languages. He is also an active participant in the English-language cultural scene in Sri Lanka and has also taught for many years at the British Council in Colombo.  

Michaels work has raised the profile of English language learning and culture in Sri Lanka.  His unique contribution has been to foster Sri Lankan ownership over, and pride in, the way the language is spoken locally.  This will help ensure that the English language remains part of Sri Lanka’s cultural make-up.

Commenting on his award, Michael Meyler MBE said: “I would like to thank everyone in the British Council and the British High Commission who have been involved in this award. My work on Sri Lankan English has been to map one tiny corner of the world’s ‘Englishes,’ and to raise awareness of its validity as a recognised variety. And in a small way, this award represents an acknowledgement by the former guardians of the English language, that this is seen as a worthwhile enterprise.”