Globalization And English As A Lingua Franca

1571 words - 6 pages

In the last twenty years the process of globalization, with concepts about "global community" and "global citizens", have been searching for communication and interdependence between different countries, thus generating social, economic and cultural transformations. This transformation together with networks of international alliances begins to show an unprecedented need for a lingua franca.
In this context, English is presented as the global language or lingua franca necessary for global intercommunication. Colombia like many other countries, is identified as the passive recipient of English as a primary means for entry and subsequent stay in this global village. Although this is seen in some circles as a gate to competition is important to recognize that any language, linked to a national culture and recognized as the lingua franca of globalization generates linguistic imperialism, which establish linguistic ghettos where culture and knowledge are affected.
It can be argued that a lingua franca should by no means be considered as a homogenizing factor, which causes cultural differences to disappear. Is this true, that the ever-increasing use of a lingua franca throughout the world offers a medium to express and explain these differences. However the different languages around the world come together with a national culture, i.e. present cultural symbolic elements of different societies to which they belong. That means that accepting a language in a society produces linguistic imperialism where the language is not seen as a structured semiotic code but as a language that carry on economic, political and social components.
Furthermore, linguistic imperialism means the extinction of the linguistic diversity, because there are strong links between language dominance and cultural power. Without a strong power-base, whether political, military or economic, no language can make progress as an international medium of communication. It is a fact that a language has not independent existence, living in some sort of mystical space apart from the people who speak it. And this dominance doesn’t permit the existence of other languages.
Nowadays there is an expansion of a discourse dictated by the West civilization, a discourse written in English, which guarantees the supremacy of some countries (USA, UK…) over others. Such a discourse is the source of regular inequalities in all fields: economics, politics, education, culture and communication. English expands hand in hand with this discourse; become in the "language of international capitalism" with an economic power that maintains and expands it.
For instance, the English language teaching (ESL) business has become one of the major growth industries around the world. As Hutton (1998) states, "It is not accidental that one of the prosperous industries of Great Britain is the teaching of English: The UK earns more than $3 billion a year teaching English to 600,000 students annually." That proves the...

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