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ERIC Number: ED422578
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-3
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Why Teach the World English?
Kaplan, Robert B.
This paper contends that the World War II settlements, the birth of the United Nations, the invention of the computer, and the geometric growth of science and technology, all occurring accidentally at the same time, created the conditions which made English an important language. The paper notes the financial incentives in servicing international students studying English, both in English-speaking countries and in other countries, including producing materials such as grammars, dictionaries, audio tapes, computer disk programs, etc. The paper next offers historical background about the contraction of the British Empire. It discusses the special status of English in the European Union and in science and technology, pointing out that because of the broad, global distribution of English, and because it has been taught in many places, English is no longer the sole property of English speakers; different varieties of native English now exist. According to the paper, a "standard" language constitutes a purely ideological construct. The paper states that language planning efforts, including global dissemination of English, reflect Western cultural views, known as the "plumbing" conception of language (the translation of messages into speech signals), which needs a standard optimally regular code to assure there are optimal channels along which the signals can flow. Next, the paper considers the extinction of some languages, what global English does to other countries, and how the Council of Europe is quietly moving toward multilingualism, concluding that the reasons for the global teaching of English should be carefully examined. (Contains 24 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A