THE FUTURE OF ENGLISH: THE GRADDOL`S EXPERIMENT. Ogunyemi, Christopher Babatunde firstname.lastname@example.org INTRODUCTION English has at least become of age as a global language. It is a phenomenon which lies at the heart of globalisation. English is now redefining national and individual identities worldwide; shifting political fault lines: creating new global patterns of wealth and social exclusion; and suggesting new notions of human rights and responsibilities of citizenship.1 Graddol`s position in the above lines is axiomatic. He probes into a disarm sensitivity the future of English in the world ridden by globalisation. The issue of global interest is of paramount significance to his analysis. That is why he takes a survey and a drive to social, economic, political praxis vis-Ă -vis man and society. Graddol`s critique of the English situation is not only contemporary but experimental because it takes a cursory look at the state of the English native speakers and the second language users. He assuages fears that the language may suffer extinction because of the militating global question and the rise of China in the mainstream of technology and demography. I quite agree with him in many ways and disagree with him in several ways too. To start with, English is not moving towards extinction as he may propel because of the rise of nations like China and Japan and other competitive models which he skilfully weave in the mainstream of his analysis. Although English is a colonial language which has survived years of existence in world politics, it is expedient to note that though colonial in origin, it is still colonial and the world has come to appreciate it that way. After colonialism, most independent nations prefer to use the code because it eliminates the burden of micro and macro influences in the establishing of other world languages. Graddol has grossly mistaken varieties and developments for extinction in the near future. His analysis on demography, economic fragmentation, political eye brows are not enough. Rather, he should see that English been a global language has enjoyed more linguistic implementations from both the mother tongue users and L2 users. More developments on its Syntax, Morphology, Phonology and Semantics coupled with transliterations and accentuations give English language more reception that heading for the rocks which he propounded in the nearest future. If we take a second look at the varieties of English: Swedish English, Russian English, Nigerian English, American English, British English, Singaporean English, Australian English, Indian English, Chinese English, one would come to the realisation that rather than anchoring on economic or political reasoning, it is obvious that English been a global Language is even eroding the indigenous linguistic features and causing language shifts and major linguistic interference in code mixing, code switching and transliteration in language and literature worldwide.
The case of Nigeria is a kitchen instance. According to Ayo Banjo, Nigeria speaks close to four hundred various languages. These languages are mutually important to the users, though the users are very few and are spread across the ethnic groups in Nigeria. It is imperative to know that though few people use these various languages, the language convey thoughts, views and idiosyncratic norms of people. To make communication easier, English is chosen as the official language, which means it becomes the language for business, education, law, publishing etc. The idea of indigenous official language like Wazobia was defeated at the floor of the house because of limited reception. This is another plus for English.2 Ahukanna has depicted English as a code that will not die in Nigeria, and also in the world at large. I feel that is why countries like Sweden that has come of age technologically, culturally, socially and economically made in mandatory in their school curricula to study English in order to break the jinx of language barrier and be involved in the fangs of globalisation which English encourages. He opines that: Whether the impulse is to attach oneself to great traditions or to sever oneself from them, there is general agreement in all these instances about one thing: English Language affirms a set of social patterns and reflects a particular cultural taste. Writers who imitate the language of another culture, therefore, allow themselves to be defined by it. The best of the commonwealth writers who use English, however, have done more than just use language; they have also modified it, in the process of generating alternative literary and linguistic possibilities which make English a language that cannot be contend with.3 The expanding features of English these days is beyond China, Japan, Korea with her incessant nuclear test, Iraq, Iran or other Arabic speaking people. That is why in those areas, the quest for English teachers is growing sporadically. Although, China has more than one billion people, Japan and Korea are leading in the Asian axis is not a parametre that the language spoken by them would throw English into the dustbin in future as propounded by Graddol. Graddol is guilty of transferring concepts to extra mental realities. I agree with him that English enjoys wider receptions and it lends credence to globalisation. That should not make him confuse issues or try to raise undue fears with the wave of new trends and technology; English language is prone to danger. Although, many “lesser used languages” as he said are now on the internet, these so-called lesser used Languages have a section for English version. For example, all the Swedish Universities have English version, which can also be found in Germany, France and Russia etc. That makes the position of English uncompromising. It is a linguistic assault to call a language “lesser-used”4. The fact that about nine million people speak Swedish, or about five million people speak Norwegian or about four million people speak Finnish or about four or five million people speak Danish warrant it to be referred to as “lesserused”? That analysis of Graddol is totally unacceptable because language carries the body of thought of a group of people. These people have history, culture and tradition. They use their language to convey an organised thought which they use in regulating law and order. Law and order which is maintained in the USA and Britain is maintained elsewhere by Graddols “lesserused” language speakers. He used the reductionist theory to limit the resources of language based on “population”. He is prone to attacks by linguists. His analysis is too sectionalised with intent to hasty generalisations.
CONCLUSION Graddol explores some aspects of English which shows that it is a global language. These areas include: social, economical, political, and cultural values because these aspects tend to satisfy the yearnings of globalisation. He rushed into his analysis by categorising language based on the number of speakers not necessarily exam mining the strength of the language and its linguistic implications. We can douse his fears that English language cannot go into extinction based on its wider coverage in schools, commerce and industry. His fallacy of “lesser-used language is disturbing because no natural language in the world is “lesser-used” demography is not a basis for the understanding of thought and development. The example of Nigeria, Singapore, India, Malaysia and other L2 users are veritable proof that English language will remain undaunted. Rather, it will carry new metaphors, ironies with regards the locale where the code is applicable and this brings new imagery, paradox and development to English Language. Footnotes 1. David Graddol.English Text. British Council. 2006. P12 2. Ayo Banjo. On the English Language Question. Macmillan. Ibadan. 1990. p20 3. Ahukanna.JGW. Bilingualism and Code mixing in Language Use in Nigeria. The case of Igbo-English Bilinguals “Multilingualism, Minority Languages and Language Policy in Nigeria Ed.E Nolue Emenanjo. Agbor Central Books/ Linguistic Association of Nigeria, 1990.p184 4. David Graddol. Op cit. p.14 Christopher Babatunde Ogunyemi is an Assistant Professor of English in Joseph Ayo Babalola University in Nigeria.
Published on Jan 20, 2011
The article makes a critique of Graddol's position on how English has at least become of age as a global language. It is a phenomenon which...