English as a Global Language; Threat or Opportunity for Minority Languages?

Afsaneh Majidi

Abstract


The fast spread of English across the world has given an omnipresent status to the language and the reason to such worldwide dominance must be sought from various perspectives. In hot debates over global spread of English an issue which remains controversial is the threat of English to other languages, particularly those of less known communities and minority languages. Minority languages are rich reflection of multiethnic cultures and societies and carry a wealth of linguistic, historical, social, cultural, and anthropological information. Since these languages are under constant threat of marginalization and extinction, any attempt to protect and revitalize them would contribute to keep the linguistic diversity for future generation. As will be discussed, the idea of English as the killer language is simplification of a more complex phenomenon. For this purpose, first roles of minority languages are reviewed, next the literature for language shift and death is investigated and three challenging issues which seem to be concerns of global spread of English are discussed, then new roles of English in global scale are explored.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n11p33


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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