NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1100995
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
Language as Pure Potential
Park, Joseph Sung-Yul
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v37 n5 p453-466 2016
Language occupies a crucial position in neoliberalism, due to the reimagination of language as commodified skill. This paper studies the role of language ideology in this transformation by identifying a particular ideology that facilitates this process, namely the ideology which views language as pure potential. Neoliberalism treats language as a neutral and abstract tool for communication that can convey information in a transparent, unadulterated way. Under this view, language is a pure medium of potentiality, which can realize any communicative goal that the speaker may want to achieve--thus in turn, a key for unlocking the hidden potential of the individual. For instance, a global language such as English supposedly allows its speaker to move beyond the constraints of her culture and community, reaching many people and traversing multiple markets, no longer stifled by the boundaries imposed by essentialized identity. By obscuring the embeddedness of language in social context, this ideology rationalizes endless investment in language learning, representing the language learner as a responsible neoliberal subject engaging in perpetual self-development. As an illustration of this process, this paper outlines how the ideology of language as pure potential contributes to the hegemonic status of English in South Korea's neoliberal transformation.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A