Sustaining Languages and the Language of Sustainability
The Need for Change
Keywords:discourse, sustainability, monolingualism, plurilingualism, complexity
This paper attempts to tackle a number of connected philosophical questions regarding the role of language in the debate surrounding sustainability. One of the most obvious effects of globalisation and our current ecological crisis is the disappearance of languages and the impoverishment of our linguistic resources. The paper initially contrasts the experience and nature of biological and linguistic extinction in order to better understand the effects of language death on sustainability. The paper then moves to examining the disempowering effects of predominant discourses and truncated repertoires in what is largely monolingual behaviour, with particular reference to current crises and attempts to alleviate them. Language teaching and practices are considered with a focus on the opposition of neoliberal globalising tendencies and policy on the one hand, and the actuality of the complexities of localised understanding on the other. It is suggested that sustainable policy and practice require sustainable linguistic means and uses, and will be informed by deeper, more detailed debate, rather than searching for sweeping solutions. The paper proposes a renewed approach to language policies regarding learning, teaching, testing and governance that are non-exploitative but, at the same time, respect the requirements of meritocratic values. The importance of receptive skills in (inter-)cultural interactions and the role of languages in the appreciation of truth values is also underlined.
Abbott, H. Porter. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Agamben, Giorgio. State of Exception. Trans. Kevin Attell. London: The University of Chicago Press Ltd, 2005.
Akala (Daley, Kingsley). Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire. London: Two Roads (John Murray), 2018.
Anthony, Laurence. Introducing English for Specific Purposes. London: Routledge, 2018.
Baker, Will. “Culture and Complexity through English as a Lingua Franca: Rethinking Competencies and Pedagogy in ELT.” Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 4.1 (2015): 9-30.
Bauman, Zygmunt. Strangers at Our Door. Cambridge: The Polity Press, 2016.
Blommaert, Jan. Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
---. The Sociolinguistics of Globalisation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Language and Symbolic Power. London: Polity, 1991.
Caple, Helen. “Analysing the Multimodal Text.” Corpus Approaches to Discourse. Edited by Charlotte Taylor and Anna Marchi. Abingdon: Routledge, 2018.
Cook, Guy. Translation in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Crystal, David. Language Death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Dellar, Hugh and Andrew Walkley. Teaching Lexically: Principles and Practice. Peaslake: Delta Publishing, 2016.
De Swaan, Abram. “Language Systems.” The Handbook of Language and Globalization. Edited by Nikolas Coupland. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2013.
Duranti, Alessandro. Linguistic Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Eco, Umberto. Engines of Our Ingenuity. University of Houston. https://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2723.htm. Last visited 30/01/2022.
---. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Dallas: SIL International, 2009.
---. Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004.
Fairclough, Norman. Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. Abingdon: Routledge, 2010.
---. Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity, 1992.
Foucault, Michel. The Archeology of Language and The Discourse on Language. New York: Vintage Books, 2010.
Halliday, Michael A. K. and Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Hodder Education, 2004.
Holliday, Adrian. “The Role of Culture in English Language Education: Key Challenges.” Language and Intercultural Communication 9.3 (2009): 144-155.
Hughes, Arthur. Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Hymes, Dell. “On Communicative Competence.” Sociolinguistics. Edited by John Pride and Janet Holmes. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972. 269-285.
Jenkins, Jennifer. English as a Lingua Franca: Attitude and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
---. Global Englishes: A Resource Book for Students, 3rd ed. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015.
Jones, Rodney H. Discourse Analysis. Abingdon: Routledge, 2019.
Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache. “Sprache in der Coronakrise” 2021. https://www.ids-mannheim.de/sprache-in-der-coronakrise/. Last visited 31/01/2022.
Mackenzie, Ian. English as a Lingua Franca: Theorizing and Teaching English. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014.
Mbembe, Achille. Critique of Black Reason. Trans. Laurent Dubois. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017.
Monbiot, George. “Carbon Offsetting is not Warding Off Environmental Collapse—It’s Accelerating it.” The Guardian 26 January 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/26/carbon-offsetting-environmental-collapse-carbon-land-grab. Last visited 12/12/2022.
Montgomery, Scott L. Does Science Need a Global Language? Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.
O’Connell, Jennifer. “Why is Greta Thunberg so Triggering for Certain Men?” The Irish Times 7 September 2019. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/why-is-greta-thunberg-so-triggering-for-certain-men-1.4002264. Last visited 12/12/2022.
Ostler, Nicholas. Empires of the Word. London: Harper Collins, 2005.
---. The Last Lingua Franca: English until the Return of Babel. London: Allen Lane, 2010.
Pennycook, Alastair. Language as a Local Practice. Abingdon: Routledge, 2010.
Phillipson, Robert. Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
---. Linguistic Imperialism Continued. Hyderabad: Orient Black Swan, 2010.
Ritchie, David. L. Metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Sanghera, Sathnam. Empireland. London: Viking Penguin, 2021.
Shohamy, Elana. The Power of Tests: A Critical Perspective on the Uses of Language Tests. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2001.
Simpson, Paul, Mayr Andrea and Simon Statham. Language and Power. Abingdon: Routledge, 2019.
Stibbe, Arran. “Ecolinguistics and Globalization.” The Handbook of Language and Globalization. Edited by Nikolas Coupland. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2013. 406-425.
Sykes, John Bradbury. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (Seventh Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Thornbury, Scott. Beyond the Sentence: Introducing Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Macmillan Education, 2005.
Worster, Donald, Shrinking the Earth: The Rise and Decline of American Abundance. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
World Trade Organization. Overview: The TRIPS Agreement. https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/intel2_e.htm. Last visited 29/01/2022.
Venuti, Lawrence. The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. Abingdon: Routledge, 2008.
Copyright (c) 2022 Richard Stephen Chapman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Iperstoria is an Open Access journal.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 BY-NC License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of their work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. We require authors to inform us of any instances of re-publication.