By Prof. James W. Tollefson
Date: 21st March 2012 (Wednesday)
Many scholarly studies have examined the impact of globalization on language policies worldwide. Most of these studies emphasize the importance of the spread of English and the rapid loss of languages in many indigenous communities. Less attention has been paid to the interaction between the representations of globalization and language in policy texts and mass media. Such representations, particularly in political discourse, not only constrain language policy options; they also contribute to the (re)construction of cultural identities.
This presentation examines the representation of ‘English’ and ‘globalization’ in selected texts, with the aim of exploring the links between English promotion policies, language policy responses to globalization, and national cultural identities. The presentation includes three parts: (1) a historical analysis of shifts in language policy research; (2) a summary of selected processes of globalization that have consequences for language policies; (3) analysis of specific policy texts and samples of political discourse that reveal the often ambivalent reaction to globalization, with consequences for resurgent nationalism in some contexts. The session ends with comments on directions for language policy research methods.
About the speaker:
Professor James W. Tollefson joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong in January, 2012. Prior to coming to HKU, he was Professor in the Department of English at the University of Washington and at the Institute for Educational Research and Service and the Graduate School of Public Policy and Social Research in Tokyo. He has taught at the University of California, San Jose State University, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, Tsuda College in Tokyo, and the Southeast Asian Refugee Processing Center in the Philippines. Professor Tollefson has published ten books and almost one hundred articles on language policy, sociolinguistics, and second language learning. His books include Planning Language – Planning Inequality and Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues. He is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Language Policy Research Network of the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC.
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