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ERIC Number: EJ790261
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 15
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
Language Education, Economic Development and Participation in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Bruthiaux, Paul
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v11 n2 p134-148 2008
The Mekong has long attracted interest although it remains economically insignificant. A group of riparian states known as the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)--Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan Province (China)--now manage aspects of regional development including trade, water management and education. Standard GMS discourse holds that English should be the lingua franca of the region and promotes the language widely through education. In GMS countries, that language is not English. Using economic and demographic data, I argue that many GMS citizens are for now unlikely to experience life through English and that the region is already equipped with languages of cross-border communication because neighbours often share dialects and because Chinese dialects have long linked ethnic Chinese interests across borders. In response, instruction in English as an additional language should be offered less with communicative fluency in mind than as a basis for future learning as required by unforeseeable events. Moreover, the link between English and modernity need not be feared because the EFL nature of English in the region complements other, overlapping identities in ways best left to individuals and groups to deal with based on factors policymakers cannot anticipate.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Burma; Cambodia; China; Laos; Thailand; Vietnam