The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies

The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies

The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies

The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies

Synopsis

The complex politics of English as a world language provides the backdrop both for linguistic studies of varieties of English around the world and for postcolonial literary criticism. The present volume offers contributions from linguists and literary scholars that explore this common ground in a spirit of open interdisciplinary dialogue.Leading authorities assess the state of the art to suggest directions for further research, with substantial case studies ranging over a wide variety of topics - from the legitimacy of language norms of lingua franca communication to the recognition of newer post-colonial varieties of English in the online OED. Four regional sections treat the Caribbean (including the diaspora), Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Australasia and the Pacific Rim.

Excerpt

Christian Mair

Freiburg

THE PRESENT VOLUME offers a selection of papers read at the joint GNEL&MAVEN conference which took place from 6 to 9 June 2001 in Freiburg. The motto of the conference was "The Cultural Politics of English as a World Language," an obvious allusion to the similarly titled pioneering study by Alastair Pennycook (1994). The motto was intended to define the concerns about the role of English in the postcolonial world likely to be shared by descriptive linguists, (critical) discourse analysts and literary scholars. GNEL, the 'Gesellschaft für Neue Englischsprachige Literaturen' "Society for the Study of the New English Literatures", certainly was the senior partner, and I am therefore particularly grateful that its executive agreed to open its 24th annual conference to the participants of the third MAVEN meeting. MAVEN is an acronym hiding a most politically incorrect label, 'MAjor Varieties of ENglish.' The question of what constitutes a major variety of English was provisionally answered by the conveners of the first MAVEN meeting in Växjö in Sweden in 1997, but not surprisingly, the focus of this conference on British, American /Canadian, Australian and New Zealand English was challenged even then, and a widening of the perspective was in evidence at the second MAVEN meeting in Lincoln (UK) in 1999. This wider perspective was evident both in the number of additional varieties included for discussion, and in a greater readiness to address the language-political, historical and cultural assumptions underlying any general answer to the question of what might constitute a major variety of English.

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