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Linguistic imperialism . A coursework in Language and cultural diveristy 2013/2014 Margarita Hinova. A map of the British Empire.

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linguistic imperialism

Linguistic imperialism

A coursework in Language and cultural diveristy 2013/2014

Margarita Hinova


“Language shift could in effect lead to language death, whereby a majority language, such as English, becomes a ‘killer language’ and completely eradicates other minority languages. This was certainly the case with several Aboriginal and North-Amerindian languages which were, in a sense, ‘killed’ by the English language. In effect, language shift and language death, at the hands of the English language, are persuasive signs of English Language Imperialism.”

Paul Z. Jambor “Linguistic imperialism – points of view”

english is
English is…





british council methodology
British Council methodology
  • English is best taught monolingually ("the monolingual fallacy");
  • the ideal teacher is a native speaker ("the native-speaker fallacy");
  • the earlier English is taught, the better the results ("the early-start fallacy");
  • the more English is taught, the better the results ("the maximum-exposure fallacy");
  • if other languages are used much, standards of English will drop ("the subtractive fallacy").
“language itself is infused with the ideology of the culture, without which it would be impossible to teach the language”

"English is something you spend your lifetime acquiring, so it would be foolish not to use it. Also, in the logic of colonization and decolonization it is actually a very powerful weapon in the fight to regain what was yours. English was the language of colonization itself. It is not simply something you use because you have it anyway." Chinua Achebe


“The professor told me that my characters were too much like him, an educated and middle class man. My characters drove cars. They were not starving. Therefore they were not authentically African”.


When we speak about linguistic imperialism, we should not forget the two-way relationship between language and culture – the domination of a language brings about cultural domination and vice-versa. Both cultural and linguistic domination threaten diversity and using English instead of one’s native language with the purpose of promoting one’s own culture can easily backfire and prove inefficient.