Importing Canagarajahs Global English TheoriesReport as inadecuate

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English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v6 n2 p58-71 Sep 2007

Should an academic have respect toward cultural differences, including variety in language? A. Suresh Canagarajah has written extensively about global English and its power over vernacular languages, stressing that language learning is not a politically neutral activity. English teachers carry with them the possibility of ideological domination and linguistic imperialism, so he urges language teachers to critically examine their hidden curricula. If these concepts are considered in the Periphery, do they also apply to the Centre? These linguistic concepts can prepare English teachers to understand the controversies surrounding Standard English as a prestige dialect and help them to gain respect towards home languages of all students. Sociolinguists confirm that identity depends on one's home language, yet many still use a deficit perspective on any language not deemed Standard English. More respectful attitudes can build a bridge to speakers of non-prestige dialects, opening doors for students where entrance has traditionally been denied. Often, people judge use of a non-standard variety as a sign indicating lack of education. What an irony that such a judgment actually signals a lack of linguistic education.

Descriptors: Standard Spoken Usage, Reputation, Linguistics, Figurative Language, Cultural Differences, Language Teachers, English (Second Language), Academic Discourse, Language Variation, Second Language Learning, Second Language Instruction, Language Attitudes

Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail: wmier[at]; Web site:

Author: Shelton, Linda


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