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The Discourses and Displacement of English in Turkey

Edited By Eser Ördem

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Chapter 1: Introduction


Abstract: This chapter attempts to show why the spread of English should be problematized and questioned. English language teaching originated in the colonized lands and is therefore intertwined with colonialism. The Orientalist discourses have also had a profound impact on the adoption of the English language in Turkey. Besides, Turkey’s Occidentalist tendency has ensured the expansion of English in the education system. The imperial and neoliberal policies endorsed by the West and particularly America have forced English to be dominant in Turkey. Resisting the spread of English is not sufficient by itself because English representing the legacy of colonialism, neocolonialism and neoliberalism is a threat to indigenous cultures and languages. Therefore, radical pedagogy, participatory democracy and critical linguistic human rights can be the main steps to oppose the expansion of English. Counter-discourses and critical practices can be developed to eviscerate the institutionalized domination of the English language.

Keywords: Colonialism, Orientalism, Occidentalism, Neoliberalism radical pedagogy

English is a weaponBritish, then US, imperialism enlisted the English language as a weapon to control and dehumanize Native Americans, throughout North America and as far as Hawai‘i, forcing them into assimilation through English-only academic programs that contributed to destroying their languages and cultures.

(Michel DeGraff, 2019, p. x)

The ideological discourses of the British Colonialism, Anglo-American imperialism and neoliberal state have gone unrecognized and unproblematized by some scholars in English language teaching considering the current unprecedented expansion of the English language in Turkey. The state of...

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