Language Development Across the Life Span. English in Iceland: From Input to Output
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The spread of English throughout the world is unprecedented in the scale of its effects on communication across languages and cultures (Crystal 2003; Seidlhofer 2011). Communities have also been affected by the spread of English. More and more studies report increased translanguaging and use of Anglo-Saxon cultural references and even the emergence of English varieties to serve needs in linguistic spaces previously dominated by a local language (Blommaert 2013; Shohamy et al. 2010; Higgins 2009). This book presents findings of a seven-year research project on the influence of English on the changing linguistic environment in Iceland. This chapter serves as an introduction to the book and its theoretical and linguistic context. Each subsequent chapter presents findings of different studies that make up the large-scale research project. The chapters range from examination of English exposure on a national level to functions of English in education and the work force. Together they provide a comprehensive description of the changing ecology of a presumed monolingual community as it transitions to a pluri-lingual society. The book focuses specifically on how massive exposure through popular culture and social media in the everyday lives of Icelanders leads to high confidence in English proficiency and the ramifications of that exposure and language confidence in academic pursuits.
The editors would like to thank The Icelandic Centre for Research and The University of Iceland Research Fund for supporting this project. We would also like to thank our colleagues, Ph.D. students, MA students and our BA classes for their collaboration. Finally we thank the thousands of Icelanders who participated in one way or another in this project.
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