English as a global contact language has been conceptualised as (1) geo-localised Englishes, (2) English similects, and (3) transcultural multi-lingua franca. Although taking a simplified and reified approach, the first framework of geo-localised Englishes has contributed to raising awareness of global diversity in English use and corresponding innovative classroom practices. Meanwhile, the second framework of English similects has taken a lingua franca approach between different first-language (L1) users, and provided insight into omnipresent multilingualism across interactants beyond particular speech communities. However, from a complexity theory perspective, geo-local communities and interactants’ L1s are just among many complex social systems, and thus neither the first nor the second framework is capable of fully explaining what emerges from communication through the language in question. The third framework of transcultural multi-lingua franca seeks to comprehend the full range of multilingualism, or broadly conceptualised translanguaging with multiple ‘languages’, which emerges across individuals, time and space. It also takes notice of both the border-transgressing nature of culture and the possible transience of salient cultural categories in global communication. Furthermore, this last framework suggests that English language education in the 21st century take a multilingual, transcultural and post-normative turn.