Translingual Englishes

Applied Linguistics Assoc of Australia
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Journal Article
Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 2008, 31 (3), pp. 1 - 9
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In their introduction to this special edition of ARAL, Michael Clyne and Farzad Sharifian have laid out a number of the general concerns we need to consider when trying to grapple with the global spread of English. There is much of value in their proposal for a more symmetrical understanding of the pluricentricity of English; for a focus on cross-cultural/ intercultural communication, especially on pragmatic, discourse, and conceptual variation in English language classes; and for language policies that emphasise bilingualism and multilingualism. Their position nevertheless stops short in its exploration of the wider concerns raised by the gobal spread of English: While rightly critiquing the monolingual mindset that is blind to multilingualism and gives support to the use only of English, Clyne and Sharifian nevertheless fail to problematise the assumptions that underlie all these discussions around the global spread of English. It is not enough just to question monolingualism and argue for multilingualism, since both conceptions emerge from the same context of European-based thinking about language. As long as we still operate with the same epistemological framework of languages that emerged from the colonial/modernist context (Errington, 2008; Nakata, 2007), we will not be able to think our way out of the dilemmas posed by language and globalisation
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