Some reflections on English as a ‘semi-sacred’ language

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

By general consensus English has become, if not a global language, then at the very least a lingua franca. Some commentators on English in the world, like Robert Phillipson (Linguistic Imperialism (Oxford University Press, 1992), use the term that serves him as a title to imply that English is itself part of the problem of having just such a global language. The argument here however is that English – like Latin, Sanskrit, Classical Arabic and Examination Chinese – through its political ascendancy (as a result of various waves of colonial activity alongside its use for religious purposes), may have taken on the character of a ‘semi-sacred’ rather than simply an imperial and imperialist language.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalEnglish Today
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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language
imperialism
linguistics
examination
Language
Global Language
Linguistic Imperialism
Lingua Franca
Religion
Latin Language
Sanskrit
Colonies
Imperialist
Ascendancy
Commentators
Waves
Classical Arabic

Cite this

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Some reflections on English as a ‘semi-sacred’ language. / ASKER, Barry.

In: English Today, Vol. 22, No. 1, 01.01.2006, p. 29-35.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

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AB - By general consensus English has become, if not a global language, then at the very least a lingua franca. Some commentators on English in the world, like Robert Phillipson (Linguistic Imperialism (Oxford University Press, 1992), use the term that serves him as a title to imply that English is itself part of the problem of having just such a global language. The argument here however is that English – like Latin, Sanskrit, Classical Arabic and Examination Chinese – through its political ascendancy (as a result of various waves of colonial activity alongside its use for religious purposes), may have taken on the character of a ‘semi-sacred’ rather than simply an imperial and imperialist language.

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