Christian Mair

Prof. Dr. Christian Mair

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

July 11th, 2002: English as a World Language: Some Cost-Benefit Analyses
Comparing and contrasting the language situation in India, Singapore and Nigeria, the lecture will argue that the continuing use of English, the ex-colonial language, carries specific advantages and disadvantages in each country, and that, consequently, a cost-benefit analysis of the use of English in post-colonial societies is possible only on the local scale. The lecture concludes with a critique of the currently dominant models which account for the spread of English as a world language, such as the "exploitation" model and the "grassroots" model. It is argued that both models are too simplistic and need to be replaced.