These issues are addressed by documenting the expansion of global English

These issues are addressed by documenting the

This preview shows page 198 - 199 out of 256 pages.

These issues are addressed by documenting the expansion of ‘global English,’ tracing its historical roots, and attempting to elaborate adequate theoretical principles for the study of neoimperial English . The progression in the article is from description, seeing global English as product, process or project, through foundational influences and influential rhetoric advocating an intensification of English speaking as a unifying factor globally, to theory-building that can capture and explain what we are experiencing. Global English: Product, Process, and Project The English language has been taken worldwide by soldiers, traders, and settlers, the process being initiated in the British Isles (Wales, Ireland et al.) and in the ‘colonies’ of North America . When these succeeded in detaching themselves from the British crown in the late 18th century , Noah Webster made a case for political independence being strengthened through linguistic independence from Britain so as to establish a specific ‘national characte r’: ‘Let us then seize the present moment, and establish a national language as well as a national government.’2 There have been blueprints for U.S. dominance of the two American continents since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and for global domination for more than a century . Edward Said’s study of culture and imperialism notes (1993,p. 7) that ‘‘ The American experience , as Richard van Alstyne makes clear in Rising American Em pire, was from the beginning founded upon an idea of ‘‘an imperium—a dominion, state or territory, and increase in strength and power .’’ Throughout the 20th century, the American Century, as Henry Luce termed it in Life magazine in 1942, the need for new markets due to capital over-accumulation was a primary concern of U.S. foreign policy. Said ruefully notes, when exploring the key role of ideas, of representations, and mental universes, that ‘the rhetoric of power all too easily produces an illusion of benevolence when deployed in an imperial setting ,[: : : ] used [: : : ] with deafeningly repetitive frequency in the modern period, by the British, the French, the Belgians, the Japanese, the Russians, and now the Americans’ (Said, 1993, p. xix). There is no clearer instance of the way political discourse corrupts than when the dominant economic system of capitalism has been conflated with ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom, the rhetorical hubris of U.S . occupation. Opinions differ on the extent to which English remains a single language or has spawned independent offspring, the English languages (McArthur, 2002). The outcome of any assessment depends on how the evidence is approached and the purpose of such sociolinguistic analysis, and there are serious weaknesses in the existing research on English worldwide (Bruthiaux, 2003).
Image of page 198
Image of page 199

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture