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The Discourses and Displacement of English in Turkey

Edited By Eser Ördem

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Chapter 2: Colonialism and English Language Teaching


Abstract: This chapter deals with a long forgotten relationship between colonialism and English language teaching. Pennycook’s problematisation of English language teaching through colonialism has produced pivotal criticisms. However, English language teaching departments have hardly included subjects that emphasize critical perspectives of British colonialism and American imperialism in the curriculum. Therefore, these departments have served the neocolonial, neoimperial and neoliberal policies of Empire. Students and English teachers graduating from English-related departments have hardly been allowed to radicalize their knowledge about British colonialism and American imperialism. A critical and participatory approach in the curriculum has been ignored or excluded. Therefore, endorsing the spread of English through English language teaching departments has violated linguistic human rights. The myths that English is an international language, a lingua franca, a natural, neutral and beneficial language have been supported and spread across Turkey. Therefore, this chapter aims to radically criticize the spread of English that has been a lethal weapon to colonize, westernize, assimilate, modernize and neoliberalize people and kill non-English languages.

Keywords: Colonialism, neoimperialism, radicalization, critical discourse, English language teaching

English is a product of colonialism.

Pennycook (2002, p. 8)

The rise of European fascism was merely the result of colonialism’s return to Europe.

Pennycook (2002, p. 22)

Pennycook (2002) has problematized English and ELT by specifically focusing on British colonialism because English is related to the history of British colonialism by which Self and Other were constituted and discourses were produced (Pennycook,...

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