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Fourth Annual Lecture on Language and Human Rights, University of Essex, 16.11.05 English: a lingua franca or an Anglo-American Frankenstein? Robert Phillipson.

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Presentation on theme: "Fourth Annual Lecture on Language and Human Rights, University of Essex, 16.11.05 English: a lingua franca or an Anglo-American Frankenstein? Robert Phillipson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fourth Annual Lecture on Language and Human Rights, University of Essex, 16.11.05 English: a lingua franca or an Anglo-American Frankenstein? Robert Phillipson Faculty of Languages, Communication, and Cultural Studies, Copenhagen Business School

2 The search for ’English’ Whose English? Whose norms? Who decides? Who is in control?

3 David Crystal English as a global language English was in the right place at the right time. The English language has already grown to be independent of any form of social control. Global English a myth, a normative project, spoken by an elite imagined community

4 Language policy challenges (1) how to devise and implement proactive language policies to ensure that all languages remain viable, which entails ensuring that English is appropriated in ways that are compatible with a balanced ecology of languages, in Europe, how to clarify and elaborate criteria to promote democratic principles and equality in communication in EU institutions and activities, which implies policies for multilingualism in transnational networks and for the strengthening of a European public sphere,

5 Language policy challenges (2) how to strengthen the language rights of speakers of all groups, including minorities, in education, public and professional domains, and EU activities, for which visionary and realistic policies for multilingualism in education are needed. These presuppose open constructive dialogue between grassroots constituencies, policy-makers, and ‘experts’ on language matters.

6 LPP pioneer: Lo Bianco Unhappily for those who have sought to devise a “science” of LPP there are no protocols for doing or designing LPP that can be induced from practice, abstracted, tested and refined into procedures and then transferred across contexts and applied in diverse settings. (…) The context-specificity of LPP makes language a problematic object of policy. (…) The historicized settings of culture, legal and political environment, ethnic relations, socio-legal parameters of policy-making and memory influence not only what is possible in any specific setting but also serve to shape its content. (…) What I think is relatively portable, at least from my own experience, are processes for the formulation of policy, i.e., collaborative negotiated and discursive arrangements for formulating inter-subjective agreements among parties in contest with each other. (…) the field is too dependent on the descriptive traditions of linguistics from which it derives, and insufficiently in communication with policy analysis sciences, with political science, with sociology and with critical schools of thought.

7 Discourses uncritically promoting English in politics: ‘English is the world’s lingua franca’ Lord Renton, House of Lords in academia (political science): English is ‘the lingua franca of the European Union’, de Swaan; ’the language of the proto-European state’, Laitin and Reich in academia (language policy and planning), ‘The ascendancy of English is merely the outcome of the coincidence of accidental forces’, Kaplan in international cultural diplomacy: ‘English no longer belongs to the English-speaking nations but to everyone’, the British Council

8 The Guardian Weekly, November 11-17 2005 Opportunities in Saudi Arabia ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING ADVISERS British Council Saudi Arabia is managing a Global Opportunities Fund project. This fund is the Foreign and Commwealth Office’s principal programme budget and its purpose is to promote global action on issues of strategic importance to the UK. The BC is the UK’s ’international organisation for educational opportunites and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity’.

9 A British global mission What the World needs most is about 1000 more dead languages – and one more alive, C.K. Ogden, Cambridge semanticist and inventor of Basic English Teaching the world English may appear not unlike an extension of the task which America faced in establishing English as a common national language among its own immigrant population. Annual Report of the British Council 1960-61, cited in Phillipson, Linguistic imperialism, OUP, 1992

10 David Rothkopf, Foreign policy, 1997 It is in the economic and political interest of the United States to ensure that if the world is moving toward a common language, it be English; that if the world is moving toward common telecommunications, safety, and quality standards, they be American; and that if common values are being developed, they be values with which Americans are comfortable. These are not idle aspirations. English is linking the world… Americans should not deny the fact that of all the nations in the history of the world, theirs is the most just, the most tolerant, the most willing to constantly reassess and improve itself, and the best model for the future. From the article In praise of cultural imperialism

11 Les Anglo-Saxons? Whose English? The British and Americans are divided by a common language. George Bernard Shaw … the British Empire and the United States who, fortunately for the progress of mankind, happen to speak the same language and very largely think the same thoughts… Winston Churchill, 24 August 1941, after signing The Atlantic Charter with President Roosevelt

12 The Atlantic Charter, 1941 (extracts) … the USA and the UK… seek no aggrandisement, territorial or other, desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned, respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live… all states to have equal access to trade and raw materials … abandonment of the use of force … disarmament A model for Newspeak in George Orwell’s ’1984’?

13 British global English A new career service is needed, for gentlemen teachers of English with equivalent status to ‘the Civil Service, Army, Bar, or Church’, an ‘army of linguistic missionaries’ generated by a ‘training centre for post- graduate studies and research’, and a ‘central office in London, from which teachers radiate all over the world’. The new service must ‘lay the foundations of a world- language and culture based on our own’. R.V. Routh, 1941, The diffusion of British culture outside England. A problem of post-war reconstruction, Cambridge University Press


15 PARSNIPS code, Heinemann, 1995 P olitics, Pork, A lcohol, AIDS, Anarchy, R acism, Rape, Religion, S ensitivity to other cultures, N ames, Narcotics, Nudes, I srael, P ornography, S ex, Sexism, Science such as genetic engineering, Stereotypes,Terrorism, Violence, the police, military, weapons, capital punishment

16 lingua franca in dictionaries New Oxford Shorter: from Italian (+++), any language serving as a medium between different nations etc whose own languages are not the same; a system of communication providing mutual understanding. Encarta: 1. LANGUAGE USED FOR CONVENIENCE a language or mixture of languages used for communication by people who speak different first languages. 2. TRADERS’ LANGUAGE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN in ports until 18th century, Italian plus elements of French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Turkish.

17 lingua franca: a fuzzy polysemic term Mackey: Franks in France from 5th century Barotchi: 1. Arabic, lisan alfiranj, Crusades 2. trading language in Mediterranean ports 3. a language of a group in El Djezair, Alger pidgins? Esperanto? ’auxiliary’ language excludes Arabic, Swahili, English UNESCO and academia, 1950s: non-European dominant languages Media discourse: e.g. Interpol, Eurovision song contest, natural sciences Seidlhofer: non-native interaction

18 Juliane House 2003: English as a lingua franca not restricted or for special purposes bereft of collective cultural capital diversity worldwide, Kachru’s outer circle non-identificational non-native ownership diglossia: ’pockets of expertise’ English is invariably the High language here English = power but no codification cosmopolitanism question for analyst

19 A language for communication v. a language for identification ‘The foreigner is learning English to express ideas rather than emotion; for his (sic) emotional expression he has the mother-tongue. English is a rather unemotional language…’. (West 1953, x)…. House 2003 ’…a metapragmatic dichotomisation that allocates specific indexicalities to particular speech varieties. (…) matters are considerably more complex’ (Blommaert 2003, FN 3)… A functionalist-referential ideology + ideological perception results in uses of language being seen as ’instrumental’.

20 English a ’lingua franca’ ? lingua economica? corporate neoliberalism = americanisation lingua emotiva? Hollywood, music lingua cultura? a subject in general education lingua bellica? Afghanistan, Iraq, arms trade lingua academica? publications, conferences, medium for content learning lingua tyrannosaura? subtractive in specific domains

21 lingua tyrannosaura the ’civilising’ mission of European Canada The use of English in preference to the Indian dialect must be insisted upon… So long as he keeps his native tongue, so long will he remain a community apart… The superstitions of the savage must be replaced by ’European culture – its ontology, theology, and values’. A national crime. The Canadian government and the residential school system 1879 to 1986. John S. Milloy, University of Manitoba Press, 1999 (initially for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples)

22 revitalising critically endangered languages Amos Key, of the Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario Towards a New Beginning. A foundational report for a strategy to revitalize First Nation, Inuit and Métis languages and cultures Tove’s handout: Education through the medium of the mother tongue

23 lingua tyrannosaura John Swales, some languages of scholarship on the way to extinction Louis-Jean Calvet, glottophagie Braj Kachru, Ann Pakir, killer languages Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, killer languages, language murder, linguicide RP, English, a cuckoo in the European higher education nest of languages? (European Journal of English Studies)

24 EU policies for ‘Europe 2010: A partnership for European renewal’ a Europe of freedom Knowledge economy European education and research area European public space European Justice Space Europe as polysemic: toponym, politonym, ethnonym, econonym, or linguonym? Europe not a meaningful concept for the young Equally opaque: freedom, education, research

25 The Bologna process, the internationalisation of higher education 45 member states, Australia and the USA as observers, EU Commission as participant and funder Bologna 1999 … objectives - within the framework of our institutional competences and taking full respect of the diversity of cultures, languages, national education systems and of University autonomy - to consolidate a European Higher Education Area at the latest by 2010 Bergen 19-20 May 2005: structural uniformity, quality, mobility, recognition, joint degrees, attractiveness, competitiveness nothing on bilingual degrees or multilingualism internationalisation = English-medium education?

26 President, London Metropolitan University CAM Cambridge Alumni Magazine, Easter 2005 ”As a result of the Bologna process, 45 European countries have agreed to implement a Bachelor/Masters degree structure. The concept of the bi-lingual university is already being widely discussed in eastern Europe; you can now do a medical degree in English in Hungary, for example. And that’s a trend that is going to continue.” The emergence of English as the international language of higher education has had an enormous impact, agrees Liping Zhou … who warns against an excessive focus on English.

27 The view from central Europe, Miklós Kontra The concept of bilingual universities is NOT widely discussed (conference last autumn), and none exist (e.g. for linguistic minorities in Carpathian basin). The medical degree in English in Hungary pre- dates the fall of the iron curtain. Target population is foreigners, mainly Third World, now broader, since the quality is good, and cheaper than in western Europe. Membership of the EU may change all this. Teaching through English (and German) is pure money-making.

28 European Association for International Education, Occasional paper 17, July 2005. Michael Woolf, President, Foundation for International Education, London I gotta use words when I talk to you: English and international education. internationalisation does not need to entail learning or operating in a foreign language, i.e. English alone is enough, privatisation and the law of the market are desirable, i.e. higher education should no longer be seen as a common good, English can be detached from its cultural origins and studied merely as a tool, i.e. the language is promoted as though it is culturally neutral and detached from the globalising, internationalising forces that impel the language forward, alternative views are based on ‘worn and tired assumptions’ that contribute to ‘atrophy, irrelevance and stagnation’. Us lot?

29 Christensen, Nicolette deVille 2005. The role of English language in international education: an American perspective “The citizens of the world have positioned English language as a common bond not just for Anglo nations, but for the entire world, so allow English to be the language in which we can cultivate global literacy.” Reciprocity in collaborative ventures involving a US sending university and a European receiving university entails “to strive for academic excellence as defined by the sending institution.” Cuckoos are parasitical, their fledglings the sole survivors in the nests they occupy. But are they environmentally sustainable?

30 The role of the university? the corporate takeover of universities (…) of science teaching (…) teaching materials appear subtly designed to influence the ways in which the student sees the world. Business now stands as a guard dog at the gates of perception. George Monbiot 2000 Humanities departments – the engine rooms of ideas and criticism -are close to moribund… The task of liberal realists is to ensure that western imperialism is interpreted as crisis management, rather than the cause of the crisis and its escalation. By never recognising western state terrorism, their complicity is assured. John Pilger, 2003

31 UK economy at risk, warns British Council, if it doesn’t invest in international education The UK economy benefits by £11 billion p.a. directly, and a further £12 billion indirectly, from international education. The goal is 8 per cent annual growth across the sector, and to double the present number of 35,000 research graduates contributing to the UK’s knowledge economy by 2020. 500,000+ attend language learning courses p.a.

32 Linguistic imperialism a variant of linguicism structural: resources, infrastructure ideological: beliefs, attitudes, imagery interlocks with culture, education, media inequality, hierarchy, exploitation legitimated as normal and ’natural’ serves to consolidate some languages at the expense of others, i.e. subtractive gives speakers of some languages more rights than others.

33 Argentine government policy analysed by (Varela and) Rainer Enrique Hamel Government policy: English is the language of international communication which unites a universal community in brotherhood with no geographic or political frontiers. English has become the natural lingua franca and has thus gained distance from its cultural roots. Hamel: This is a good example of the ideology of “many Englishes”, of a de-territorialised and neutralised language that belongs to nobody and therefore to everybody; as if English were not backed any longer by the world’s most powerful army and navy. Varela rightly criticises this inappropriate (and technically wrong) use of the term lingua franca for English.

34 The myth of the cultural neutrality of ’global’ English. Martin Kayman, in Textual practice, 18/1, 2004 English being disembedded from national cultures can never mean that it floats culture- free (… or) is culturally neutral. The point may be simple, but it is often elided; and this elision constitutes a politics of English as a global language which precisely conceals the cultural work which that model of language is in fact performing. The advocacy of English as a global language is comparable to the occupation by Europeans of other continents that were falsely seen as terra nullius. Contemporary linguists who proclaim the neutrality of English treat the language as a cultural terra nullius.

35 The myth of the cultural neutrality of ’global’ English. Martin Kayman 2004 with reference to Seidlhofer (non-native ’English as a Lingua Franca’) & House: … without a critical analysis of the cultural, rather than the communicative, contexts of the material in the corpus, this model, resting on the apparently neutral, not to say purportedly natural, authority of empirical data, will reinforce the myth of global English’s escape from the cultural politics of language.

36 lingua franca : pernicious, misleading, false A pernicious, invidious term if the language in question is a first language for some people but for others a foreign language. A misleading term if the language is supposed to be neutral and disconnected from culture. A false term for a language that is taught as a subject in general education. Historical continuity: term for the language of 1) the Crusaders, Franks (from Arabic) 2) the crusade of global corporatisation, marketed as freedom, democracy (& human rights?).

37 Europe is multilingual English, in fact, is not and will not be the “language of Europe”. Etienne Balibar, We, the people of Europe, Reflections on transnational citizenship, Princeton University Press, 2004, 177 Translation is the “idiom of Europe” Steiner, Eco, Balibar, Bauman Translation as globalisation Michael Cronin, Routledge, 2003

38 EU Commission Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity: An Action Plan 2004-2006, 24 July 2003 learning one lingua franca alone is not enough English alone is not enough In non-anglophone countries recent trends to provide teaching in English may have unforeseen consequences on the vitality of the national language.

39 Council of Europe, Guide for the development of language education policies, 2002 lingua franca more for non-native/non-native communication new varieties of English are appearing not directly associated with a country where it is spoken by native speakers... no need …. to teach about a country where the language is spoken. English taught as a lingua franca does not have the function of introducing learners to other cultures… should be taught as a basic skill from the beginning of schooling… also as a medium of instruction … provided education is for plurilingualism.

40 Language rights of Nordic residents to learn the language of society as a whole comprehension of Scandinavian languages languages of international utility, like English, Spanish, French etc. maintaining and developing the mother tongue goals – comprehension – parallel competence – multi- and plurilingualism – the Nordic region as a language model

41 EU Commission Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity: An Action Plan 2004-2006, 24 July 2003 The range of languages for learning: the smaller languages as well as the larger ones regional, minority and migrant languages as well as those with ’national’ status, and the languages of our major trading partners throughout the world.

42 Fluidity in language policy in Europe unresolved tension between linguistic nationalism (monolingualism), EU institutional multilingualism, and English becoming dominant in the EU competing agendas at the European, state (national), and sub-statal levels increasing grassroots and elite bi- and multilingualism, except in the UK and among the older generation in demographically large EU countries, largely uncritical adoption of englishisation, lingua economica/americana rhetoric of language rights, some national and supranational implementation, and advocacy of linguistic diversity.

43 The right to identify with the mother tongue(s) and to have this identification accepted and respected by others (Skutnabb-Kangas, late 1960s-2000) Nowhere does human nature appear less admirable than in the relationships which exist between peoples. I put my trust in the theory of what the relationships between men and states ought to be according to the principle of right… a universal federal state… a permanent universal peace by means of a so-called European balance of power is a pure illusion. rule of law, rule of international law Immanuel Kant, Theory and practice, 1792

44 Paradox : the rhetoric of diversity is pitted against the unfree market EU rhetoric proclaims support for multilingualism, and cultural and linguistic diversity BUT in practice there is laissez faire in the linguistic market (the draft EU Constitution is weak on language rights) political paralysis in language policy analysis and formation at the supranational level formal equality between 20 official languages, but French was earlier primus inter pares and English is the current linguistic cuckoo.

45 Multilingualism = more English The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. ( Article 22, The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ) BUT Abram de Swaan: The European Union: the more languages, the more English Robert Chaudenson: personne là non plus est dupé des déclarations enflammées de certains en faveur du plurilinguisme qui n’est qu’un contre-feu face à la généralisation de l’anglais.

46 European auto-colonisation The contemporary dominance of English was initially due to the way Britain and the USA promoted the language. But currently it is the non-English-speaking nations which are consolidating this state of dependence (exemplified by English-medium textbooks in higher education) vis-à-vis the Anglo-American language, and as a result, their dependence on the Anglo-Saxon world. Dependence in science, then culture, then economic, then political! It is self-imposed servitude and not the result of any objective fact that cannot be changed. Charles Durand

47 German passivity It is hard to find another European society in which so many people are ready and even eager to give up their national identity (…) it is the cultural status and the role of German for expressing human ideals, insights and aspirations which is at stake (…) a self-inflicted tragedy. Hans Joachim Meyer Present policies signify an end to German as an international language. Ulrich Ammon Gawlitta, Kurt 2004. Der verkaufte Mund. Paderborn: IBF Verlag.

48 Promoting linguistic apartheid? Should everyone speak English? The Great English divide. In Europe, speaking the lingua franca separates the haves from the have-nots. Business Week (European edition) 13 August 2001 English unites global and European elites and divides them off from the rest of the population

49 Building European (linguistic) unity: lingua frankensteinia English should be the sole official language of the European Union. Director, British Council, Germany, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26 February 2002 Political cheerleaders of global English


51 One Europe? One language? Spanish Foreign Secretary, Ana Palacio, El País, 16 December 2002 “The motto ‘One Europe’, solely in English, requires a reflection. Even though Copenhagen did not face the question of languages, this is one of the pending subjects that sooner rather than later must be debated for the very survival and viability of this project of Europe with a world vocation. Within it, Spanish, one of the official UN languages, spoken by more than 400 million people in more than 20 countries, must take on the place it is entitled to.”

52 Addressing language policy issues? French MEPs: Un sujet qui peut être qualifié d’explosif en Europe. The Convention on the Future of Europe ignored proposals by several NGOs for strengthening language policy and reforming institutional procedures. Social scientists analysing European integration generally neglect language policy - Sue Wright, 2000: ’a conspiracy of silence’ - although issues of deliberative democracy and trans-European civil society and public sphere are central. Journalistic coverage of language issues tends to be ill-informed.

53 Factors accounting for paralysis in language policy formation (1) different cosmologies in national linguistic cultures confusions of terminology (e.g. lingua franca, multilingualism, working language) in discourse (politics, media, business etc) and in distinct academic disciplines linguistic human rights a recent development in international law, do not constrain ’international’ languages, and entail limited L2 rights and duties criteria for guiding equitable supranational language policy are under-explored fragile processes for dialogue between scholars, interest groups, and policy-makers

54 Factors accounting for paralysis in language policy formation (2) EU institutions are inconsistent in living up to ideals of multilingual equality (website, communications with member states) overall responsibility for language policy in the EU is fragmented (Council of Ministers, DGs for Education & Culture, Translation, …), and ultimately (inter-) governmental alternatives to market forces (the comparative advantage of English in the European linguistic market) and linguistic nationalism (e.g. Esperanto) are unexplored power politics, linguistic nationalism, economics

55 Political ethics … in the field of linguistic rights, like in other fields of human rights, there is no right but only … politics. Yves Marek, counsellor to Jacques Toubon, Minister of Culture and Francophonie, and later of Justice, 1996

56 The role of the intellectual, Edward Said, 1994 … to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma (rather than to produce them), to be someone who cannot easily be co- opted by governments or corporations... someone whose whole being is staked on a critical sense, a sense of being unwilling to accept easy formulas, or ready-made clichés, or the smooth, ever-so-accommodating confirmations of what the powerful or conventional have to say, and what they do.

57 Misuse of ideologies of cultural difference Few things have done more harm than the belief on the part of individuals and groups (or tribes or states or nations or churches) that he or she or they are in sole possession of the truth… It is a terrible and dangerous arrogance to believe that you alone are right. …’through an ocean of blood to the Kingdom of Love’ (Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin, religious wars) Isaiah Berlin, Liberty, (1981) 2002

58 The invading cuckoo: domain loss Domains: commerce (corporate language), research publication (monolingualism), higher education (medium of instruction), media (Hollywood McDonaldisation), EU affairs, … pilot studies of the Nordic languages: Höglin, R. (2002) Engelska språket som hot och tillgång i Norden. Copenhagen: Nordiska Ministerrådet. Domain loss: a seemingly innocuous term, deceptive, like ‘language spread’, implying a natural, agent-less process. (Linguistic) capital accumulation by dispossession, (Harvey, The new imperialism, 2005, chapter 4). As in the commercial world in its global pursuit of markets and profit, some combination of internal motivation and external pressure contributes to this trend. The extent of domain loss/dispossession is unknown.

59 Neglected EU language policy needs zero think tanks ambivalence about an Academy little activity in international language policy at the national level no effort to clarify language rights of L2 users Action Plan accountability minimal (eurocrats ?) Esperanto idealism but zero funding for research on Esperanto in education and/or on the potential of Esperanto as a bridge language zero funding for language policy formation of an analytical or visionary kind

60 45 recommendations national and supranational language policy infrastructure EU institutions language teaching and learning research Robert Phillipson, English-only Europe? Challenging language policy Routledge, 2003 English neither a pernicious, misleading, false lingua franca, nor an Anglo-American Frankenstein

61 English in a multilingual world: living with cuckoos without being cuckolded

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