Edited by Peter A. Kraus and François Grin
[Studies in World Language Problems 6] 2018
► pp. 167–199
Chapter 8. Linguistic justice and English as a Lingua Franca
Several academic circles are currently theorising the global use of English, including the following two: on the one hand, a group of linguists have argued that English, as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is to be distinguished from English as a Native Language (ENL), of which ELF is not an inferior version. On the other hand, a number of political philosophers have developed theories of linguistic justice that zoom in on the normative case both for and against the global dominance of English. These two “schools” – ELF and linguistic justice – have developed simultaneously but have not engaged with each other to date. In this chapter, I examine the extent to which the linguistic injustices that the emergence of English brings to non-native speakers are reduced by the shift from a conception that prioritises native-speaker norms for English to a conception that legitimises ELF. I first argue that there are four such injustices – communicative, resource, life-world, and dignity injustices. Subsequently, I analyse for each of the injustices what difference ELF could make. My argument is that ELF reduces – but does not remove – the injustices connected to the emergence of English as the world’s lingua franca. But once we are talking about degrees of injustice reduction, other options are available as well. A more significant reduction of the injustices is possible, I argue, through establishing L1-based norms of English.
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