English Is Imperial

Topics: English language, Sociolinguistics, Linguistics Pages: 8 (2226 words) Published: July 15, 2011
Task 1.a
Paul Z. Jambor is a professor of English Language and he has been teaching for more than 10 years. In his points of view, English Language an is imperialistic language or we can just define it, English Language is above the other languages.

He started off his arguments by examining the definition of Linguistic Imperialism given by Phillipson and Knowles. From the definitions, English Language is known as the domain language and one of the most successful imperial languages. The British Council is an example of English Language Imperialism because it is set up to improve the global status of British English and it's all around the world. Paul uses these findings to support his idea.

Another fact which he presents is by comparing the number of English and Chinese native speakers. In general sense, we all know that China has the largest population in the world and the people are everywhere thus Chinese language should be rated as 'number one' because the number of speakers are a lot but it isn't so. In fact, English is used more by people around the world comparing with Chinese. This can be proven by looking at the list, Graddol's 12 international 'domains' of English (1997).

When a language is overtaken by another, it's known as 'language death'. In the past, many of the North Amerindian and the Australian Aboriginal languages were 'killed' by English because they were never used again after English invaded (Crystal, 2003:21). With this, there's no doubt that English was at least once a 'killer' or an 'imperialist' language according to Paul.
One of the root causes for 'language death' is language shift. There are some reasons for language shift to occur, some are due to political and economic pressures, the incoming language took over the native tongue and following the majority not to mention the most popular music and movie industries are owned by English speakers. Therefore, many people especially the young generation find it irresistible in learning English and this further support Paul Z. Jambor's view.

Learning from the history, some languages like the North Amerindian Languages are taken over by English and become 'dead' as the native languages speakers failed to pass on their native tongues to their descendants; English is very well known as an Imperialism Language to some government like France and China. They have created legislations in way of planning language and restrict access to English language programs because they are countering the effects of English Language Imperialism.

Task 1.b
As Paul Z. Jambor goes along in his article, he mentioned some arguments which disagree on his points of view, English language is imperialistic. David Crystal is one of those who disagree with Paul. Crystal sees English as innocent because the language doesn't do anything but the human. Since language and culture are very close related, English language shares the blame too as the people who are money minded are the native speakers of the language.

Besides, Crytsal also mention that English language is not owned by anyone because there are so many users of it in worldwide now. Hence, English is neutral and it has lost its imperialist qualities since there are several of Englishes like Singlish (Singapore English), Manglish (Malaysian English) and Indian English. This Englishes are different from the native Englishes like American and British English.

Apart from English is neutral; Crystal does think English is democratic too. For some languages, they are a little bit more complicated than English when it comes to greeting people from different classes, simply known as honorific system, such as Korean and Hungarian but English language doesn't have it.

When it comes to 'Choice' vs, 'Force', Davies believes that choices are made freely on individual basis and that minority language speakers adopt English to suit their own needs (Davies, 1997:248). As for David Crystal, he thinks that English...
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