1. Education
Richard Nordquist

Global English in the News

By September 28, 2012

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It's time for our end-of-month roundup of language-related items in the news--from the linguistically profound to the lexically ridiculous. Several articles this month consider the causes and consequences of the rise of English as a global language.

  • Protest Over English Words in a Chinese Dictionary
    Over 100 Chinese scholars have signed a petition calling for the removal of English words from an authoritative Chinese dictionary, reigniting a debate on language purity. The petitioners, most of them linguists, said the newly published sixth edition of the Modern Chinese Dictionary includes 239 English words and acronyms, which they believe constitutes a violation of the country's Law on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language. . . . Read more
    ("Language Purity Row Resumes After English Enters Chinese Dictionary." Xinhua News Agency [China], August 29, 2012)

  • Singaporeans Strive to "Make Good English Stick"
    This year's Speak Good English Movement is calling out to Singaporeans to "Make Good English Stick"--a reminder that the skill of using the language effectively and successfully will stick with constant practice. . . . Read more
    (Sharon See, "Call for Singaporeans to "Make Good English Stick." Channel NewsAsia [Singapore], September 19, 2012)

  • Europe's Multilingual Universities
    European universities continue to respond to enormous demand from international students for English-language courses, and should develop robust language policies that articulate an appropriate balance of English and other global and national languages in the curriculum, panelists said Wednesday at the European Association for International Education conference. English is well-established as the dominant international language of academe worldwide. . . . Read more
    (Elizabeth Redden, "Toward Multilingual Universities." Inside Higher Ed, September 13, 2012)

  • Multicultural Students in Monolingual Classrooms
    The demographic shift in the school-age population of the U.S. is most noticeable in the unprecedented increase of English language learners. The growing numbers of students for whom English is an additional language have touched almost every state. Yet the CCSS [Common Core State Standards] that have swept the nation only tacitly acknowledge the profound challenge for these students. . . . Read more
    (Margo Gottlieb, "Tips From the Top." Language Magazine, September 2012)

  • English in Bollywood
    Hindi's long serving and possibly best known brand ambassador Bollywood is turning slowly but surely away from the language it helped transcend borders. Bollywood, buoyed by its rising global appeal, is fast embracing "English" as it borrows liberally from the "firang" language. The penchant to go English is most visible in use of titles for Bollywood movies. . . . Read more
    (Pankaj Sharma, "Is Hindi Losing Out to English in Bollywood?" Zee News [India], September 16, 2012)

  • The Advantages of iPods for English Language Learners
    Providing English language learners (ELLs) with iPod Touches, or similar handheld devices, can increase learning time and motivation, according to a study from The University of Texas at Austin's College of Education. . . . Read more
    ("iPods in Classroom Can Boost Academic Time and Resources for English Language Learners." University of Texas at Austin News, August 30, 2012)

  • Kindle's English Language Project Cancelled
    Days before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos were due to launch a partnership, to promote US culture and provide English lessons to young learners around the world via 35,000 Kindle e-readers, the event was quietly cancelled. . . . The U-turn was an embarrassment for the state department, which spends close to $40m a year on spreading English language skills around the world. But it is also a tacit acknowledgement that e-readers may not be a quick fix for raising learning achievement. . . . Read more
    (Amy Lightfoot, "Kindle's English Language Teaching Role 'Re-examined.'" Guardian Weekly [UK], September 18, 2012)

  • The Language of Corruption in the Philippines
    English is indeed the language of corruption in the Philippines. It is the language of corrupt "leaders," corrupt socio-economic agendas, corrupt "intellectuals" and corrupt consciousness. Most of our middle class and elite citizens have been holistically corrupted by the English language. Goodness, these citizens think their mother tongue is English! . . . Read more
    (David Michael M. San Juan, "The Language of Corruption." Manila Standard Today [Philippines], September 2, 2012)

  • Backlash Against English in Zimbabwe
    A top Zimbabwean politician shocked education officials in Bulawayo during a graduation ceremony when he told them not to speak in English language. The deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Lutho Tapela told officials at the United College of Education teachers' graduation ceremony that they were wrong to conduct the occasion in English language . . .. Read more
    ("Zimbabweans Told to Stop Speaking English Language." The Zim Diaspora [Zimbabwe], September 22, 2012)

  • In Malaysia, English Is the "Way to Go"
    Ever wondered why we put so much emphasis on English when countries like Japan and Germany seem to progress just fine without focusing on the language? That mystery was unravelled at The Star's free public forum on the importance of English in the workplace . . .. Read more
    (Aminuddin Mohsin, Tan Ee Loo, and Kang Soon Chen, "English--The Way to Go!" The Star [Malaysia], September 23, 2012)

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