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Segment 7

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Before you watch the segment read the texts A and B. Formulate the two sides ofglobalization.


Text A


The Roman god, Janus, with a double-faced head, might symbolize the process. A spirit associated with doorways and archways, looking backward as well as forward, he is also often regarded as the god of beginnings. The month January is named after him. The two facets of globalizing also demonstrate opposite trends. On the one hand, official sort of English of multi-national corporations and international associations is very dull as it is designed to be easily understood internationally, without confusing local terms. On the other hand, every nation prefers to keep its national identity, trying to remain different from others.


Text B

The two chief issues – internationalism and identity – raise an immediate problem, because they conflict. In the former case, a nation looks out from itself at the world as a whole, and tries to define its needs in relation to that world. In the latter case, a nation looks within itself at the structure of its society and the psychology of its people, and tries to define its needs in relation to its sense of national identity. Corresponding linguistic issues automatically arise.

Internationalism implies intelligibility. If the reason for any nation wishing to promote English is to give it access to what the broader English-speaking world has to offer, then it is crucial for its people to be able to understand the English of that world, and to be understood in their turn. In short, internationalism demands an agreed standard – in grammar, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, and convention of use.

Identity implies individuality. If a nation wishes to preserve its uniqueness or to establish its presence, and to avoid being an anonymous ingredient in a cultural melting-pot, then it must search for ways of expressing its difference from the rest of the world. Flags, uniforms, and other such symbols will have their place, but nothing would be so naturally and universally present as a national language –or, if there is none, a national variety of an international language. In short, in the context of English, identity demands linguistic distinctiveness – in grammar, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, or conventions of language use.

The future of the English language depends on how the tension between these two principles will be resolved.



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