Global English (Blog Post 4 of 4)

As we have previously discussed, it is important to celebrate–not merely tolerate–diversity in the classroom, which most readily applies to teachings of the English language. This idea, though, was neglected in all of the readings for this week, as speakers of other native languages were essentially taught to be ashamed of their own language and culture. These readings, then, have seemingly exemplified the idea that the implementation of a global language holds various negative attributes. Is there anything that we, as future teachers, can do to help change the situations in places like India and Kenya? Have these readings furthered your beliefs about what a global language would do to the world? Have your opinions changed? And finally, if you think that this can all be related to Webster’s radical proposals regarding the English language, take note of that here.

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4 Responses to Global English (Blog Post 4 of 4)

  1. Numeroff says:

    As future educators I think it is very important to get involved politically and make a difference in education. Educating people to be cookie cutter images of one another is harmful and should not be allowed. Educators know, perhaps better than most, that this method of creating identical people is very detrimental to diversity. By embracing diversity in the classroom and the world, I think that we can help take small steps towards a worldwide acceptance of diversity. Although this will not be an easy task, I think it can and needs to be done.
    These readings have made me feel even more strongly about my beliefs that a global language is harmful to diversity. While talking about embracing diversity, Delpit states, “One of the most difficult tasks we face as human beings is communicating meaning across our individual differences, a task confounded immeasurably when we attempt to communicate across social lines, racial lines, cultural lines, or lines of unequal power” (Delpit 66). Although a global language seems to be a simple answer to removing these communication barriers, changing a person’s identity is not a good solution and may not even be feasible. The representations of so-called American culture and society in “Indian by Day, American by Night” are an inaccurate portrayal of real life Americans (Pal 2). The American population, dialects, and lifestyles vary greatly and would be almost impossible to represent to others just as the case would be for any other population. Sharing unique differences would be a much better approach to communicating than resorting to one global language because it would allow everyone to embrace their individuality rather than be forced to embrace someone else’s beliefs.

  2. jen-nay. says:

    Many articles that we have read show the importance for a global language in that it will make communication much easier, especially in business, but it has a negative impact on cultural identity. I think, as future educators, we need to open children’s eyes to new cultures so that when they are older and more aware of cultural differences, they won’t be so different to them and will be much easier to accept. I did not grow up around a lot of cultural diversity where people spoke with thick accents, so today I have a hard time understanding phone operators from India, and I even have a difficult time making out lines from Harry Potter. If we can bring in people who still speak their native tongue to just speak to classes, and watch movies and listen to tapes where people have strong accents, then maybe students will be able to understand different accents more easily and appreciate various cultures.
    I agree with Numeroff that these readings have made me feel more strongly about the fact that there should not be a global language. Indian call center workers have to go through training to speak in a more American accent, learn about American culture, and create for themselves a fake American name. A Professor of Delhi University states, “It’s the ultimate humiliation. No one wants to know us as Indians; our identity is not good enough” (4). Taking away a person’s identity and culture is not something that we should want to do and creating a global language is going to do this to millions of people. Nobody agreed with Webster when he wanted to erase all dialects in the United States, so what makes this any different, if not worse?

  3. YoungJ says:

    As future educators, I agree with both Numeroff and Jen-nay that we need to allow people, particularly our future students, to embrace their individual cultural identity. Numberoff made a good point that while it’s not easy, it’s crucial to embrace diversity in the classroom. I think the classroom is an important starting place for teaching diversity. As future educators, the methods we use for encouraging diversity in the classroom can be used when teaching English in places such as India and Kenya. We need to create or find ways of implementing bilingual learning using techniques like the ones Peregoy and Boyle discussed. After reading Crystal, it became evident that many people who do not understand English may in the long run be left behind in so many aspects in life, such as in school or in work. Unfortunately, the English teaching methods employed in countries such as India with their call centers is almost reminiscent of Webster’s goal of creating an American language, except it’s on a world wide scale with huge implications. Students and learners of the global language around the world need to understand the importance of maintaining cultural identity and not allowing their language to become extinct as Crystal states, “The responsibility for language preservation and revitalization is a shared one” (708). In addition, some of the points he brought up regarding the dangers of a global language in regards to the elimination of other languages, the abuse of power from those more fluent in the language, etc should be addressed when teaching the global language to further encourage the maintenance of one’s mother tongue (703-704). Without educators understanding the dangers of a global language and teaching others about it, not only will many culture’s identity and history potentially become lost, but also new issues may emerge worldwide such as politically and economically related ones.

  4. darkknight5 says:

    As everyone has mentioned above, creating a global language is not something that I would like to see, it would only create more violence, while bringing with it, less diversity. This diversity is what keeps the world turning, and not only gives us pride in where we live, as well as our culture, but also gives each and every one of us our own personal identity. Each and every day the world becomes less and less diverse, in fact, as we learned Monday in class, one language dies about every two weeks. This statistic, as mind-boggling as it is, shows the harsh reality of what is taking place around the world… the ‘languages of the rich’ (English, French, Spanish, etc.) are destroying those other languages that are seen strictly in small areas and communities. This same idea, pertaining to one global language, can be seen in Crystal’s article “Why a Global Language,” when he says “Perhaps those who have it at their disposal– and especially those who have it as a mother-tongue– will be more able to think and work quickly in it, and to manipulate it to their own advantage at the expense of those who do not have it, thus maintaining in a linguistic guise the chasm between rich and poor” (Crystal 704). Those who are not with the majority are being thrown under the bus because they are ‘different’ and in many cases they are told they are wrong.

    As a future educator, I want to teach my students about the importance of remembering where you came from, and what you are made of. Everything that has been put into making you, should not be forgotten, but rather embraced. The best place to do this is in the classroom, so that the student not only sees the importance of his own culture and maintaining it, but so that the other students can also understand and learn about cultures other than their own. With a future full of more diverse and more understanding citizens, the United States, as well as the English language, will become much more diverse in itself, rather than forcing everyone to learn the American dialect of English. With children learning about other cultures, they will also be able to understand a larger variety of dialects within the English language, including the dialect of those from India.

    With all of that being said, the development of a global language would weaken the world, because cultures would die out at a much faster rate. Also, the United States uses English as its ‘unofficial, official language’ and the creation of a global language (English) would weaken the unity of America, at least in my opinion.