Chapter 6: The Costs of Language Diversity
14026_Global/Chapter 6 25/10/01 4:14 pm Page 1 6. The costs of language diversity INTRODUCTION Efforts to promote particular languages and hamper others are being made today by a number of national authorities and cultural producers. The aim of these moves is mainly to counter the influence of English, despite or rather because of the fact that people in almost every country are selecting it as the world’s lingua franca. The grounds for resisting the spread of English include the threat that it is thought to pose to other cultures and national identities. Some of the individuals engaged in these campaigns may genuinely fear such a threat. Academic specialists in linguistics do tend to believe in a slightly outdated cultural relativism that makes all languages equal and treats the death of any single one of them as a tragedy. But much of the motive and the reason some governments take the issue seriously is Protectionist, as the extremely rhetorical nature of many pronouncements unintentionally reveals.1 The pronouncements sound like any others designed to protect special interests and, where they differ, do so only in the vehemence of the language used. They are inspired by the rents that accrue from choosing one language rather than another for international purposes now that the world economy is steadily integrating. This motive may not be admitted or even understood by the protagonists of minority languages, who tend to take as axiomatic the infinite value of each language and culture (they conflate the two)...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.