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The state of English as a global language: communicating culture

Kayman, Martin ORCID: 2004. The state of English as a global language: communicating culture. Textual Practice 18 (1) , pp. 1-22. 10.1080/0950236032000140131

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The so-called ‘spread’ of English around the world has been associated historically with British and, latterly, American cultural imperialism. And yet, in the context of globalisation, English is now being reconstructed as a culturally-neutral lingua franca, a universal means of communication desired and appropriated by all users. (How) has English freed itself of its cultural weight? Given the traditional relation between language and national sovereignty, how might the cultural polity of language be constituted in a post-colonial, possibly post-national world? This article traces the major historical moves in the theorising of English, particularly in relation to its teaching, on its path towards globality, analysing how successive theories have located culture in, and subsequently displaced culture from, their models of language. In conclusion, the article focuses on the relation between language and culture in the communicative model of language that, since the 1970s, has accompanied both the expansion of English teaching and the development of new technologies of communication. The priority of communication over culture articulated in this model, it is argued, is central to the promotion of globalisation’s utopia of the unobstructed flow of messages across national borders.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
ISSN: 0950-236X
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 10:34

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