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Language Myths and the History of English$
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Richard J. Watts

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327601.001.0001

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Commodifying English and constructing a new myth

Commodifying English and constructing a new myth

(p.259) Chapter 11 Commodifying English and constructing a new myth
Language Myths and the History of English

Richard J. Watts (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Over the last few years, the discursive construction of another myth, the myth of global English, has emerged involving the commodification of English. In recent years “global English” has emerged as a major area of sociolinguistic research. Some deconstruction of the myths created in this work has already been carried out, but no one has yet adequately tackled an analysis of the ideologies that lie behind expressions such as “English as the world language”, “English as the global language”. The example of English in Switzerland is used to argue against uncritically introducing English into national school systems at the expense of other languages. The chapter shows how dangerous it is not to take such discursive moves seriously and to counteract them with empirical work. Language planners need to be clear about what they mean when they talk about “a global language” and about how that message may be misconstrued by political bodies.

Keywords:   global language, modern myth, linguistic domination, commodification of English, language planning

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