Loosening the Linkages Between Language and the Land
Like any living thing, languages evolve over time. This chapter examines the connections among sociocultural change, access to the Internet, and the fluctuations of English as a global language. English has begun to transcend geographical borders and sociocultural boundaries as its status as a national language, official language, or unofficial language grows. Connections among various phenomena, such as Internet penetration, language policy, and linguistic diversity, and economic well-being, are analyzed. Countries discussed include South Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Tunisia, Japan, and China. The rush of governments worldwide to connect their citizens to the mobile Internet and to adopt English as a language of commerce comes with the expectation that an enhanced quality of life will be an inevitable outcome. However, the proliferation of English as a global language and the widespread adoption of the Internet are transmogrifying the roles of indigenous languages and local customs. The contention of the authors is that these transformative events – the global spread of English and the proliferation of the Internet – are loosening the historically durable ties between the geography of a region and the language and customs of the people who live there.
KeywordsLanguage evolution Language extinction Technology English as a global language
- Adkins, S. (2014). The 2013–2018 China digital English language learning market (Ambient Insight Country Report). Monroe: Ambient Insight. Retrieved from http://www.ambientinsight.com/Resources/Documents/AmbientInsight-2013-2018-China-Digital-English-Language-Learning-Market-Abstract.pdf.
- Arab Social Media Report. (2012). Social media in the Arab world: Influencing societal and cultural change? Dubai: Dubai School of Government.Google Scholar
- Baines, L. A. (2012). A future of fewer words? The Futurist, 46(2), 42–47.Google Scholar
- Burrus, D. (2014). The Internet of things is far bigger than anyone realizes. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/insights/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/.
- Byrne, G. (2007). Schooling and learning difficulties in China. Contemporary Review, 289(1685), 201–208.Google Scholar
- Connolly, M., & Yi, K.-M. (2008). How much of South Korea’s growth miracle can be explained by trade policy? Philadelphia: Federal Reserve Bank. Retrieved from http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/papers/2008/wp08-23bk.pdf.Google Scholar
- Davis, J. H. (2015, October 16). Obama and South Korean leader emphasize unity. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/17/world/asia/park-geun-hye-washington-visit.html.
- Da-ye, K. (2012, October 7). How far can English go? The Korea Times. Retrieved from http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2012/10/602_121658.html.
- Deloitte China Research and Insight Center. (2014). Report on the diversification of China’s education industry. Shanghai: Deloitte China.Google Scholar
- Diamond, J. (2012). The world until yesterday: What can we learn from traditional societies? New York: Viking.Google Scholar
- Economist, The. (2014, August 23). Bad characters: Some Chinese forget how to write. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/china/21613300-some-chinese-forget-how-write-bad-characters.
- Economist, The. (2015, October 3–9). American, the sticky superpower: A special report, 1–16.Google Scholar
- Education First. (2015). Education first English proficiency index. Retrieved from www.ef.com/epi.
- Ethnologue: Languages of the World. (2015). Open language archives in and about the English language. Retrieved from http://www.language-archives.org/language/eng.
- European Commission. (2012). Europeans and their languages report, special Eurobarometer 386. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_386_en.pdf.
- Ford, P. (2015, June 11). What is code? Bloomsberg Businessweek. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-paul-ford-what-is-code/.
- Gibson, M. (2013). Dialect leveling in Tunisian Arabic: Towards a new spoken standard. In A. Rouchdy (Ed.), Language contact and language conflict in Arabic: Variations on a sociolinguistic theme (pp. 24–40). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Global Finance Magazine. (2015). Definition of GNI per capita. Retrieved from https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/glossary/gdp-gni-definitions.
- Groupe Speciale Mobile Association. (2014). Digital inclusion. London: GSMA.Google Scholar
- Hadid, A. (2014, June 29). The future of English in Korea. The Diplomat. Retrieved from http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/the-future-of-english-in-korea/.
- Herscovitch, B. (2012, September 12). English is the language of the Asian century. The Drum. Retrieved from www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-13/herscovitch-english-asia/4257442.
- Information Today. (1998). Library of Congress intends to convert to Pinyin system for Romanization of Chinese. Information Today, 15(1), 42.Google Scholar
- Internetlivestats (2015). Internet users by country (2014). Retrieved from www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users-by-country/.
- Kim, K., & Kim, K. (2011). English in South Korea: Yesterday and today. In M. Koehler & P. Mishra (Eds.), Proceedings of society for information technology and teacher education international conference 2011 (pp. 2873–2882). Chesapeake: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).Google Scholar
- Korean Ministry of Education. (2015). National basic curriculum. Retrieved from http://english.moe.go.kr/web/1695/site/contents/en/en_0205.jsp.
- Language Education Policy Studies website. (2015). Language education policies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Retrieved from http://www.languageeducationpolicy.org/lepbyworldregion/africacongo.html.
- Mair, V. (2012, August 30). Creeping romanization in Chinese. Language Log. Retrieved from http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=4157.
- Mtweve, S. (2014, March 23). Tanzania’s Internet users hit 9 m. The Citizen. Retrieved from http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/Business/Tanzania-s-Internet-users-hit-9m/-/1840414/2254676/-/dgt0ps/-/index.html.
- Niger-Congo languages. (2015). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Niger-Congo-languages.
- Organisation Internationale de Francophonie. (2015). Democratic Republic of the Congo. Retrieved from http://www.francophonie.org/Congo-RD.html.
- Phillips, J. (2015, May 1). The Internet’s most popular languages. Brightlines. Retrieved from http://www.brightlines.co.uk/en-gb/brightlines/blog/2015/5/1/the-internets-most-popular-languages/.
- Pinon, R., & Haydon, J. (2010). English language quantitative indicators: Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Bangladesh and Pakistan. London: British Council. Retrieved from https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/Euromonitor%20Report%20A4.pdf.Google Scholar
- Sife, A. S., Lwoga, E. T., & Sanga, C. (2007). New technologies for teaching and learning: Challenges for higher learning institutions in developing countries. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT), 3(2), 57–67.Google Scholar
- Swarts, P.,, & Wachira, E. (2010). Tanzania: ICT in education situational analysis. Global e-schools and communities initiative. Retrieved from http://www.gesci.org/assets/files/KnowledgeCentre/SituationalAnalysis_Tanzania.pdf.
- UNESCO. (2015). Endangered languages: Frequently asked questions on endangered languages. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/endangered-languages/faq-on-endangered-languages/.
- United Nations Human Development Index. (2013). Congo (Democratic Republic of the) HDI values and rank changes in the 2013 human development report. Retrieved from http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/Country-Profiles/COD.pdf.
- Westcombe, J. (2011, September). English – a status report. Spotlight: Das Magazin fur Englisch (pp. 28–33). http://archiv.spotlight-online.de/files/spotlight/Magazine_content/Documents/spotlight_0911_28_30_crystal.pdf.
- World Bank. (2015a). Public data: World development indicators, GDP per capita for Japan, Korea, Peru, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&idim=country:KOR:JPN:CHN&hl=en&dl=en#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:KOR:JPN:PER:ZAR&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false.
- World Bank. (2015b). Internet users (per 100 people). Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.P2.
- World Bank. (2015c). Democratic Republic of the Congo: Social context. Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/drc/overview.
- World Bank. (2015d). GNI per capita, PPP (current international $). Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.PP.CD?order=wbapi_data_value_2014+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=desc.
- World Factbook. (2015). Democratic Republic of the Congo. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html.
- Yan, E., Fung, I., Liu, L., & Huang, X. (2015). Perceived target-language-use survey in the English classrooms in China: Investigation of classroom related and institutional factors. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2015.1029934.
- Yoshida, R. (2013, October 13). Required English from third grade eyed. Japan Times. Retrieved from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/23/national/required-english-from-third-grade-eyed/#.VMviRXB4rzE.