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Review Why English? Confronting the Hydra (a review)

The position of English as the language of globalisation, as the language of choice for international business and as the enabling tool for those who seek better employment and higher wages is considered common knowledge. At a time when the merits of globalisation are being questioned, this volume presents a wide-ranging and thought-provoking set of articles questioning the received wisdom of such widespread acceptance of the merits of English and reasons for choosing to embrace English in the first place. Describing the English language as a Hydra1, the book continues the metaphor and explores various areas where the incursion of English is considered to be at best problematic and at worst harmful. The editors set out the position of the book from the outset and those familiar with the writings of Phillipson et al will not be surprised to see that the book presents a view of the use to which English is put as being, if no longer colonial or imperialist, then at least neo-colonial.

Robert Williams. Former chair of the ICC. Has over 30 years’ experience in language education as a teacher, teacher trainer, materials writer, assessor and consultant. Currently a principal lecturer in the Dpt of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Westminster. Teaches on the MA TESOL and is course leader for the MA International Liaison and Communication, a pioneering course training people to be the bridge across communities and between language groupings. Currently the internal quality assurance member for CoMoViWo – a project designing intercultural communication training material in English and Spanish, with a specific focus on e- communication.

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