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Choose 4 of the following questions from the first part of the subject and write 300-400 words on each:
- What caused the global spread of English?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of this spread?
- What is the difference between linguistic imperialism and world Englishes?
- What are the differences between inner circle, outer circle and expanding circle Englishes?
- What factors – political and linguistic contribute to the development of outer circlevarieties?
- What are the arguments for and against considering varieties of English in the expanding circle?
You should refer to the readings relevant to each question. This assignment does not need to follow essay form (introduction, conclusion etc) but should answer the four questions in turn.
What caused the global spread of English?
One of the most notable features of the modern era has been the development of a universal language for communication, with English taking the forefront and establishing itself as the global norm. While there are several opinions about the establishment of the language as a global standard, Kachru & Nelson (2006, p. 9) believe two primary interlinked diasporas to be responsible for this global diffusion of English. The first reason for the same is attributed to the mass scale migration of people from the United Kingdom into other major nations such as North America and Australia, a view which has been supported by several different authors as well (Molin, 2006, p. 16). However, the role of the first diaspora is contributory to the impact of the second reason for the adoption of English as a global language, i.e., colonialism and its subsequent impact. As Great Britain established its colonies all over the world, the political, social and cultural environment in such regions was also impacted by a linguistic paradigm shift owing to the fact that religion, the economy and administration all started functioning in English as well (Tollefson, 2000, p. 7). The functioning of such crucial processes in English also led to the attachment of power to the language in the eyes of the natives, who subsequently adopted the language in order to achieve power in the society and leverage opportunities in colonial regimes (McKenzie, 2010, p. 1). While these paradigms served as the primary reason for the global adoption of English up till the first half of the 20th Century, the United States ended up playing a major role towards the later half. When the nation won the Cold War, it emerged as the sole global power in a global environment which needed a powerful leader. Owing to the same, American leadership led to the influx of its culture in almost all corners of the world via media, which bought the language in tow as well, thus, reinforcing the idea of English as a global lingual medium (Alsagoff, Mckay, Hu, & Renandya, 2012).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this spread?
While English might have emerged as the global language, the fact of the matter is that the normative nature of the language is not without its advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage of English as a lingua franca is the ease it affords in the business and scientific community in this age of globalization (Phillipson, The Linguistic Imperialism of Neoliberal Empire, 2008, p. 4). The process of translation of data or communiques from one language to another involves a high amount of costs in terms of finances and efforts, and there always exists the possibility of translation-based errors, factors which are eliminated with the presence of a universal language (Mair, 2003, p. 90). Another benefit of the English language as a global communication medium is the sense of unity it offers, a sentiment which has been the driving force of the global platform since the post-World War II era. By having a common medium for national ambassadors to interact with, any social, religious and national biases which inherently arise in a cultural confluence are eradicated, instilling a sense of crucial solidarity on the global level (Ndimele, 2016, p. 351). Although the benefits of English as a global language are aplenty, certain disadvantages need to be kept in mind as well, the most notable being linguistic power and its concentration. The utilization of English as a global medium has undermined the power of other languages to such an extent that academicians, artists and scientists who do not speak English have their work often ignored on the global platform (Crystal, 2003, p. 17). Apart from the above, a singular linguistic medium also propagates linguistic complacency. Owing to the fact that English has become globally accepted, Dhia (2006, p. 333) argued that the universality factor leads to the elimination of the motivation to learn new languages, which is detrimental to other languages as it leads to a decline in their adoption rate, and might even lead to the death of certain languages (Täuschel, 2014, p. 42; Rubdy, 2015, p. 44).