Rosemary SalomoneJul 21, 2022
The Rise of English
Global Politics and the Power of Language
Oxford University Press 2021
Spoken by a quarter of the world's population, English is today's lingua franca--its common tongue. The language of business, popular media, and international politics, English has become commodified for its economic value and increasingly detached from any particular nation. This meteoric "rise of English" has many obvious benefits to communication. Tourists can travel abroad with greater ease. Political leaders can directly engage their counterparts. Researchers can collaborate with foreign colleagues. Business interests can flourish in the global economy.
But the rise of English has very real downsides at times generating intense legal conflicts. In Europe, imperatives of political integration, job mobility, and university rankings compete with pride in national language and heritage as countries like France attempt to curb its spread. In countries like India, South Africa, Morocco, and Rwanda, it has stratified society along lines of English proficiency and devalued commonly spoken languages. In Anglophone countries like the United States and England, English isolates us from the cultural and economic benefits of speaking other languages.
In The Rise of English: Global Politics and the Power of Language (Oxford University Press, 2021), Dr. Rosemary Salomone offers a commanding view of the unprecedented spread of English and the far-reaching effects it has on global and local politics, economics, media, education, and business. From the inner workings of the European Union to China's use of language as "soft power" in Africa, Salomone draws on a wealth of research to tell the complex story of English--and, ultimately, to argue for English not as a force for domination but as a core component of multilingualism and the transcendence of linguistic and cultural borders.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.