From: Riz Khan

Linguistic imperialism?

We look at the pros and cons of the spread of English as a global language and its impact on cultures and diversity.

Is English the language of the world or simply a tool to spread Western imperialism?

Some people are using the term “Globish” to describe the continuing evolution of a global pidgin English.

Due to the economic, cultural and military dominance of Britain and the US, English has become the global language for international business and diplomacy.


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There are an estimated 400 million native-English speakers and as many as one billion people around the world learning it as a second language.

So, to what extent is the popularity of English a threat to other languages and cultures?

On Wednesday’s Riz Khan, we discuss those issues with Robert McCrum, a journalist and the author of Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language.

Also joining the programme is Robert Phillipson, a linguist and professor emeritus from Copenhagen Business School. Phillipson’s research focuses on the dynamics of linguistic domination and the role of English in globalisation.

This episode of Riz Khan aired from Tuesday, December 28, 2010.