This contribution provides an outline of the status of English as a “global language” in the workplaces of academia and education. Institutions and individuals seem to accept as “natural”, “normal” and even desirable that English is a hegemonic language worldwide. However, academia and education are not only workplaces and institutions, they are socio-cultural centres that contribute significantly to shaping the present and future prospects of society, culture, the economy, research developments and their representations. Thus, an overview of the dominant status of English in academia and education is followed by a critique of the ideological underpinnings and practical consequences of this current situation and widespread influence of English. An English-only “lingua franca” for academia and education does not address the need for flexibility, metacommunicative competence and the challenges of a fast-changing superdiverse society and global workplace. It is advocated that academia, education and research should lead the way towards diverse plurilingual communication. Valuing language diversity and its cultural wealth should take us towards plurilingual workplaces and environments, and beyond the dominance of any one language. Academia and education have the potential to become agents of change and spearhead the development of plurilingual working environments. Technology can facilitate change, but only language users (scholars, teachers, students and institutional bodies) can promote linguistic and cultural respect for diversity, find new ways to implement them in academia and education, and enhance linguistic and metalinguistic flexibility, creativity, and adaptability.

English in academia and education: from language dominance to critical linguistic diversity

BORTOLUZZI, Maria
2016

Abstract

This contribution provides an outline of the status of English as a “global language” in the workplaces of academia and education. Institutions and individuals seem to accept as “natural”, “normal” and even desirable that English is a hegemonic language worldwide. However, academia and education are not only workplaces and institutions, they are socio-cultural centres that contribute significantly to shaping the present and future prospects of society, culture, the economy, research developments and their representations. Thus, an overview of the dominant status of English in academia and education is followed by a critique of the ideological underpinnings and practical consequences of this current situation and widespread influence of English. An English-only “lingua franca” for academia and education does not address the need for flexibility, metacommunicative competence and the challenges of a fast-changing superdiverse society and global workplace. It is advocated that academia, education and research should lead the way towards diverse plurilingual communication. Valuing language diversity and its cultural wealth should take us towards plurilingual workplaces and environments, and beyond the dominance of any one language. Academia and education have the potential to become agents of change and spearhead the development of plurilingual working environments. Technology can facilitate change, but only language users (scholars, teachers, students and institutional bodies) can promote linguistic and cultural respect for diversity, find new ways to implement them in academia and education, and enhance linguistic and metalinguistic flexibility, creativity, and adaptability.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1100199
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