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Global English: a language of controversy?

von The Open University

Dieses Kursmaterial steht nur in der iTunes U-App auf iPhone oder iPad zur Verfügung.


‘Britain and America,’ wrote George Bernard Shaw, ‘are two countries divided by a common language.’ That witty comment summarises the problems and complexities of English. It has ended up as a world language, the widely used language of commerce and the internet.

But today’s widespread adoption and use of English is a complex story. Grammatically it’s hard to learn, it has many variants and comes with its own history. Its global distribution is largely due to its imposition through British colonial expansion, where it became the language of authority, control and oppression. Those malign beginnings still carry resentments around the world, and continue to pose questions. Is it arrogant to expect other countries to learn it while Anglophones don’t bother to learn their languages? Or is it a good thing that we’ve found common ground in a multicultural world?

The idea of English as a global language is controversial, particularly for people in non-English-speaking countries. This learning pathway examines that controversial nature as well as its cultural and economic importance. Using text, video and audio it explores what English means to those who use it and what it means to learn English, both as a mother tongue and an additional language.
Global English: a language of controversy?
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