Studies in Language Variation, Meaning and Learning
KAREN JACOB - EIL as a Global Cultural Phenomenon 73
KAREN JACOB EIL as a Global Cultural Phenomenon1 1. Introduction A considerable amount of recent research into English as an interna- tional language (EIL) focuses on the context of communication be- tween non-native speakers of English. One major issue within this paradigm is the role of culture in this new phase of English language learning and teaching (ELT). However, a high percentage of this re- search is essentially pursued from a pedagogical perspective and does not account for the cultural implications on societies using EIL. The learning of English seems not only to have become a social necessity but also a thriving business. Can we therefore talk of EIL as though it were a cultural phenomenon that has managed to worm its way into the daily lives of people worldwide, so much so that it has uncon- sciously become part of their native culture? This chapter presents some of the results obtained in a larger study which argues that the entire process of English language learn- ing has become a cultural phenomenon that has in turn become part of a more global culture. This study considers the role of the English language in Majorca and to what extent our learners associate, or do not, the English language with the cultures of English-speaking coun- tries. In order to fully understand the context of this chapter, we will provide some basic background information on the current debate concerning the status of EIL and a theoretical model taken from cul- tural studies to...
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