Pennycook and Vaish

Language Ideologies—Chapter 8, “Lessons from Colonial Language Policies”—Alastair Pennycook

We need to discuss language policy in terms of social, cultural, political, or colonial implications –195

Need to understand contextual and ideological underpinnings and implications of language policies—196

Discourses produced in contexts to colonial language policy are constantly being reproduced in the contexts of current debates—196

Language policy and language education were crucial sites of colonialism -197

Colonial language policies constructed between 4 poles:
1.)Within capitalist empire and need to produce docile and compliant workers and consumer to fuel capitalistic engine
Imperial capitalism—education conceived as crucial component in construction of global empire

2.) Within local contingencies of class, race, and economic conditions particular to each community—education as means for more effective governance—promotion of vernacular in education would solve problems with governance causes by lack of knowledge and with need for pragmatic solution by way of education in local languages—in some cultures vernacular education promotes loyalty, obedience, and acceptance of colonial rule

3.) Within discourses of Angliscism and liberalism—civilization of the world—English language would open new world of liter-a-ture, reason, history, virtue, morality, etc-enlighten backward peoples.

4.) Within discourses of Orientalism with exotic histories, childlike nature, cultures in decline themes—also themes of being stuck, corrupt, etc—in some cultures vernacular education with used indigenous forms of culture and knowledge ensure social stability

Anglicism and Orientalism complementarily complicit in larger colonial project of domination. Belief was vernacular education would be best way to spread European knowledge of India. With these two working hand in hand, colonial language policy can be understood to both reflect colonial ideologies and crucial site of production–208

Colonial ideologies were evident in language policy and effect language policy today-197.

Today, discussion doesn’t need to be about arguments for one language or for many; instead we should try to understand complex interconnections between language policies, different ideological positions, and forms of governance –210
Must understand language policy within local context; don’t decide whether language policy is good or bad; understand its location both historically and contextually—211
Ex.) Bakhtin-heteroglossia to combat standardization and spread of Russian language, which was mass project of Stalinist Soviet Union
Gramsci—called for unified language to unite peasantry in Mussolini’s Italy, which pushed for national identity through language

We need to investigate whose interests are served by different language policies; must look at what policies promote or deny within the broader social, political, and economic structures they support–212

We mustn’t fall into trap of thinking one language can become means of wider communication while local languages preserve cultural identity. We need alternative space, a place from where we can notice we are simply reinforcing colonial constructions of language. We need to rethink how English can be appropriated to serve different ends, how English needs to be reclaimed to become a language of cultural support for other language groups, and how other languages need to move away from reproducing traditional relations, and instead acknowledge that languages and cultures can never be static, or they are lost -215

Language policy discussions both reflect broader cultural and political views and produce them—215

Big question of the day: how can we address language policy in terms of need to step outside the replaying of colonial dichotomy of Anglicism vs. Orientalism???

Can’t view English language as language of modernity, development, and progress while others are purveyors of tradition, history, and culture

English must become language through which other cultures can find expression, and to appropriate other languages for nontraditional purposes.

Must understand how language and education are tied to forms of culture and knowledge.

Find third space for dealing with language policies—step out of binary—must deal with issue of hybridity—need to take English and change it and take on other languages and change them too –218

Class Notes:
Masks of Conquest- English introduced in India

English Literature taught in India before they even taught it in England.

Viniti Vaish—“A Peripherist View of English as a language of decolonization in post-colonial India”

Peripherism—ideology or view of those groups that have historically been linguistically subalternized or disenfranchised but that have now, due to the market forces of globalization, gained access to linguistic capital. Globalization can be beneficial rather than homogenizing. Mini-nations are important.

English language becomes agent in decolonization that enables the urban poor to access the global economy

Sretching process of globaization—(Giddens 2001)—economic phenomenon in which modes of connection between different social contexts or regions become networked across the earth’s surface as a whole.

Subaltern—Gramsci (1971) depressed groups in society that suffer from hegemony of ruling class

Workplace literacy important part of education in developing nations.

Spread of English brings agency.

Culturalism: (Appadurai, 1996)—identity politics mobilized at the level of the nation-state. Ex.) native language more important than English.

Samuel Huntington says “fading of west and rise of other power centers is promoting the global processes of indigenization and the resurgence of non-Western cultures”—202

Our main concern should be equitable distribution of globalization’s benefits.

Linguistic protectionism—sociolinguistic notion that spread of English does nothing more than reproduce the status quo and results in an academic gatekeeping that serves to keep the third world from sharing existing cultural capital and aggressively marketing its own highly competitive intellectual products—202

The way English is taught in India to the masses does not displace or replace indigenous language; it only adds a domain to the multilingual/mulitliterate repertoire of subalterns, a workplace literacy domain, that can help break of the constraints of class and caste (203)

This work is “indicative of the micro-social analysis that has to be carried out in different periphery communities to redress a historiography in English studies (undertaken mainly be center-based scholars) that has not been adequately sensitive to the everyday linguistic strategies negotiation of the local people (203).

It has presented a peripherist view of spread of English in India as a tool of decolonization in the hands of subaltern communities and can help then access the global economy –203

English can enrich without endangering. –204

Class Notes:

Access yes, but is it really a tool for decolonization????? This data doesn’t show that—the people are actually becoming empowered by working in call centers which are colonizing or at least imperializing forces.

How would you define a decolonization tool? One that restructures global economy so everyone has equitable access to global economic opportunities.

Empire: system that allowed the flow of knowledge and culture produced in the colonial encounter to flow back to imperial center. –a discursive web, a mechanism for the global movement of colonial language policy—197-198.

Class Notes:

Kumar—Passport Photos


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