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The Sociolinguistics of Language Education in International Contexts


Edited By Edith Esch and Martin Solly

In many parts of the world the language education scenario is increasingly dynamic, as demographic, economic and social changes powerfully influence socio-political agendas in the sphere of language education. These in turn impact on complex issues such as linguistic pluralism, multiculturalism, and marginalization. This is especially so in the sphere of second language education where local, national and regional concerns often dominate the objectives underpinning policy choice and prioritisation.
This volume brings together scholars and researchers from a wide range of different educational contexts and turns a sociolinguistic lens on some of the key areas of concern for researchers in language education: critical awareness of power and identity issues; competence in dealing with new sociolinguistic repertoires, modalities and literacies; ethical concerns for all who are involved. The ‘case study’ approach enables the reader to reflect on and critically engage with these issues in a rich variety of contextual situations, and the volume as a whole provides a useful overview of (second) language education in the world today.


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ESTERINO ADAMI English Language Education in India Today 147


ESTERINO ADAMI English Language Education in India Today* 1. Introduction This chapter is concerned with the way in which English language education, considered either as a core or non-core subject, is imple- mented within the state curriculum in India today, and the related so- cial impact and implications. Traditionally, the English language has a special role in India as a direct consequence of the colonial experience, but also for pragmatic and instrumental reasons, and in the plurilingual context of India Eng- lish language education has always constituted a complex social and cultural issue. The introduction and subsequent imposition of English in India (Sareen 1991; Krishnaswamy/Burde 1998; Krishnaswamy/ Krishnaswamy 2006), which started in 1600, the year when the East India Company was established, cannot be detached from the project of colonial expansion launched by the British, since the language op- erated as a powerful ideological tool to create an English-educated elite of administrators, officers and civil servants. The Macaulay Minute (1835) and Charles Wood’s Despatch (1854) laid the foundation for future educational orientations, with the gradual creation of schools, colleges and later universities, where Eng- lish was employed and taught as a foundation subject. The Minute aimed at ending the thorny debate between Anglicists (who supported the extensive use of English language and culture) and Orientalists (who sustained the position of the classical or local languages, like Sanskrit and Persian, as well as oriental cultures) by emphasizing * I would like to express my gratitude to the anonymous reviewers who offered constructive...

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