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Multilingualism and English in Twenty-First-Century Europe

Recent Developments and Challenges


Clive W. Earls

This book aims to tackle one of the most controversial and important linguistic, educational and societal debates in contemporary Europe. English is growing rapidly within, and spreading across, an increasing number of areas of society. This development is influenced by actions taken by national and supranational decision-makers, as well as global forces outside the control of any one state or political union. Europe’s founding principle of respecting and fostering diversity and equality of cultures and languages is being affected by the growing role of English across European countries, creating a de facto linguistic hierarchy and consequently a potential cultural hierarchy.

The essays collected here aim to examine existing debates and stimulate further discourse on the nurturing of multilingualism in Europe and the concomitant acquisition of English. By bringing together contributions focusing on multiple European countries and regions by researchers from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds, this volume presents a snapshot of the current relationship between multilingualism and English and explores the challenges generated by this situation.

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English as a lingua franca: Globish, anglo-américain (d’aéroport), ‘le tout anglais’ and other names



This chapter is a study of French public opinion as it relates to English, specifically of the terms that French people use to refer to English as a lingua franca. An analysis of the notion of Globish, not only the multiple and ambiguous meanings of this term, but also the constellation of related contextual terms accompanying it, can serve to illustrate the diverse, complementary and competing attitudes towards English as a world language in the twenty-first century.1 The corpus examined consists of French-language blogs from France over a two-year timespan (2011–2012) where the use of the term globish is studied as it occurs in full blog articles, passing comments, longer posts and in commentaries by blog site visitors. These epilinguistic remarks reveal ways of thinking that are not only conscious, subjective and normative but also unconscious and implicit.

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