English Language and Power

This topic will look at some of the politics of English language, how policy decisions are made and what impact this can have on language users. It will explore how much power language really has and why we should be careful how we use it.

Globish and Language Death edit

  • Language dominance and power
  • The rise and decline and languages


Study Questions:

  1. Can globish lead to a linguistic democracy?
  2. Has the spread of English caused the death of other languages?
  3. Should governments decide what languages we use?

Assignment: Read Historical Roots of U.S. Language Policy and American Indian Language and Forced Assimilation. In class we will have a managed discussion on different aspects of US language policy.

Additional Reading: Racialization and US Language Policy

Metaphors edit

  • Metaphors and meaning
  • Ambiguity and influence of language


Military Metaphors:

Study Questions:

  1. What are metaphors and why do we use them?
  2. What is the effect of the military using metaphors when talking about war?
  3. Can changing the metaphors we use really change our thoughts and actions?

Assignment: Choose one of the readings from this section and write an analysis of it. Select about 40 lines of text. Include quotations in your analysis to prove the points you make. Write one paragraph each in answer to the following questions:

  1. What is the most significant message or impression you have from reading the text?
  2. What is the genre or text type and how far does it conform to this genre?
  3. Who are the intended audience and what is overall purpose of the text?
  4. What perspective does the writer have on the topic and how is this expressed?
  5. How would you describe the tone and mood and how does this help to achieve the purpose?
  6. What stylistic devices has the writer used and how are they effective in the text?
  7. What is interesting about the structure and layout of the text?
  8. What is most effective about the text and how successful is it in achieving its purpose?