ERIC Number: ED379929
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Jan
ESL: English as a Subversive Language.
Griffith, Thomas W.
Several cultural traits often associated with Anglo-American tradition are examined, and their significance in the debate over the spread of English as the world's dominant language is discussed. It is argued that these traits of Anglo-American culture are generally beneficial to society and individuals within it, and that they are reflected in the English language. The first cultural asset discussed is wealth. Just as physical and cultural factors are seen as contributing to the society's overall affluence, English is seen as linguistically rich and expansionist. The second attribute of Anglo-American society examined is egalitarianism. In the same way that the society has supported egalitarian principles, English reflects these principles in a number of historical developments: loss of "thou"; a leveling of honorifics; and the emergence of commonly used slang. Third, individualism is explored. In English, "I" is capitalized despite its non-capitalized German antecedent; the use of the prefix "self-" has multiplied; and literacy is widespread, signifying the importance of the individual in society. It is proposed, based on these observations, that the spread of English throughout the world is a benignly subversive activity, corresponding to a spreading of democratic societal values. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Dissertations/Theses - Masters Theses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Master's thesis, University of Massachusetts, Boston.