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Get down with cultural encounters Understanding cultural diversity and stereotypes By Atle Strømstad, Ulrik Broge & Kristoffer Nygaard This brief summary is based on

the

article

understanding

in

Cultural language

teaching - where now? By Karen Risager. The article is among other things based on the cultural understanding and

how

knowledge,

it

comprises

attitudes

and

behavior.

Understanding culture To understand culture, its

important in Denmark. An

but

diversity and the stereotypes

important point in connection

emphasize on a youth culture

with the knowledge aspect is

that most of the students can

that

relate

that we create within culture, it is important to understand

it

depends

on

it

is

to.

important

This

could

to

for

perspective, on the eyes that

instance be something about

do the seeing. Attitude is a

school

term for feelings and attitudes

countries

Behaviour is another term for

towards

people

and

language, and how it is in

knowledge of the cultural

conditions

in

target

comparison to the studentsâ€&#x;

rules and conventions that

country. Itâ€&#x;s about working

culture.

apply in the country one

with

might visit. It would be

morals,

the important aspects that make up culture.

the

systems of

But

the

in

the target

because

of

values,

ethics

and

internationalization it would

but

also

the

be a good idea to have a

things as social conventions,

development of the ability to

global language. It would be

clothes, food, your daily act

have a sympathetic insight

a positive thing for the world,

etc. Knowledge is a term of

into the situation of other

no misunderstandings and

insight

people.

easier

into

cultural

and

e.g. why agriculture is so

make

business

between countries. If you will

social conditions. Knowledge includes also a deeper insight,

to

Consider

teaching

youth

abandon the national aspect

cultures in English, it is hard

in language teaching, you

to choose one specific culture,

would get a more intense way

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of teaching, which would

But as cultural understanding

to

have a positive effect on the

is a common part of teaching

around us and thus being

students. The national aspect

English, we still need a way

able to orient us within it.

could be moved to other

to accommodate this demand.

Stereotypes are a part of our

classes, but it is also difficult

One solution would be the

social culture that is the core

to teach these things because

ethnographic method, where

of our traditions, and defines

of all the immigrants in the

the

integrate

our identities. Stereotypes are

different

The

themselves into the culture,

hard to get rid of because it

teaching would increase the

by observing and taking part

defines different groups in

students‟ ability to speak and

in the cultural practice. The

the social environment that

understand the language. By

result

we

removing the cultural part of

completely

language teaching, we would

distance to the target culture.

also

countries.

remove

the

problem

is

a

reduced

or

disappearing

problem

about cultural testing. The main

students

in

testing

cultural understanding is that it is easy to fall back on

categorize

the

belong

consequences

world

to. of

The

negative

stereotyping are that they don‟t just describe the world

Stereotypes Stereotypes arise because of the human need to create mental pictures in our heads

but also form it. It is therefore important to deal with them because they are inevitable. Even though using „cultural

testing knowledge of facts via multiple-choice tests. Testing a deeper insight on social

and

relationships more

cultural requires

a

discussion-type

mode of testing. It is also important to mention the question that arises as the testing should be done in the

native

or

target

language. There is another problem

about

the

students‟ ability to reflect on their own and others‟ attitudes and feelings and thereby hard to test.

2


stereotypes‟ as a definition,

in

1994,

people does not help the

might seem as a negative

„Culture is like the sky at

students when the objective is

phrasing, that does have its

night‟. His opinion is that it

to make them open and

positive uses. We belong to a

depends on how you look at a

tolerant towards strangers.

place, we fit in as members

culture, meaning that the

One also has to consider how

and the stereotypes are a big

picture of the culture changes

hard

help

depending how you look at it.

different nations in language

He also mentions that you‟ll

teaching, when the view of

never

another culture is coloured by

to

orientate

and

to

identify ourselves.

Sprogforum

get

1,

the

same

it

is

to

deal

with

As teachers, it is important to

description of a culture. Take

deal with stereotypes because

for instance Danish culture.

it gives us the opportunity to

Through foreign eyes it is a

Putting it all together

take

matter of looking at traditions

To understand culture is to

more

and

understand the world. It is to

considering pictures, films,

historical events. Some would

understand every aspect of

jokes, media and sport just to

describe Danish culture as

what lies within in the term

mention a few.

traditional meals, such as

culture. It is the behaviour in

roast pork with parsley sauce

a culture and the perception

Cultural Diversity

and rib roast. Some would

of

The old view of culture was

describe it by the relaxed

Understanding culture is to

based on language, culture

attitudes

and

understand the diversity that

and nation. This is no longer

consumption of alcohol, and

lies within it, but also why we

possible, it never has been,

consumption of it in public

create cultural

and it never will be possible

places.

would

and why should be aware of

to maintain this old view.

describe

their

them, for good or worse. To

This is because there will

humour e.g. use of irony and

be able to live side by side as

always be differences within

sarcasm. But it is important to

a world society, we have to

each

only

remember that these points of

understand

recently that culture sciences

view, change based on the

surrounding us. By lack of

have become aware of the

viewer‟s

trying to understand another

fact.

background.

advantage

students‟

own

culture.

The

of

the

experiences

It

is

difficulty

in

than

political

of

And

sale

some

them

by

own

cultural

the viewer‟s own culture.

this

behaviour.

stereotypes,

the

cultures

culture, we create a fear of the

comparing culture, lies in the

unknown, and in the process,

problem that cultures are not

Everyone

makes

that uniform after all, and is

opinions and they will draw

therefore hard to decide what

different

one should compare. As John

lack of understanding which

Gulløv Christensen describes

makes differences between

conclusions.

own

creating hostility against it.

The

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Summary of Shakespeare in the bush By Laura Bohannan By Atle Strømstad, Ulrik Broge & Kristoffer Nygaard The

anthropologist

Laura

Laura

is

Bohannan is conducting and

asked

to

collecting materials for her

contribute

studies

because of

on

a

fieldtrip

to

Africa.

her reading

From her friend she was

habits,

handed the book Hamlet to lift

which they

her mind above the primitive

know

surroundings. The friend who

about. They

handed her the book tells her

think

that

might have

Hamlet

often

misinterpreted. protests

by

is

Laura saying

that

a

she

good

story to tell.

human nature is pretty much

Laura knows that it is a hard

the same, except for minor

job to be a good storyteller,

details,

because of the high demands

the

whole

world

over.

in the tribe. She is soon going to find out that her universal

When

the

water

in

the

thoughts of

understanding

swamps rises and keeps the

Hamlet is not at all the same

tribe in enforced isolation for

as the cultural ones.

to

habits,

insane dancing

drinking

Laura realizes while telling

and

her story that there are a lot of

storytelling.

aspects that the Tribe elders

Laura is not particular happy

cannot find a meaning in.

about the native beer and the

These are aspects that are

partying and retires to her

based on their own culture.

own hut. She reads her book

They

Hamlet.

understanding monogamy, as

have

mother Gertrude marries her brother in-law again. They find it disrespectful that, as from their point of view, the elders are not asked for advice and counsel.

When Laura finishes the story

three months it drives the tribe

is bad thing that the queen

problem

the elders instructs her in the errors they see in her story. The elders ask her to tell them more stories, so they can tell her the true meaning of them, and then go back to her elders and tell about the wisdom that she had been taught.

it is important for them to The tribe is especially happy

ensure a large family to help

about the storytelling and

out. They cannot grasp why it

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Biography of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala By Atle Strømstad, Ulrik Broge & Kristoffer Nygaard The author Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born in Germany, May 7, 1927 in a town called Cologne. Her

father

of

polish-

Jewish origin was lawyer. Her

mother

was

of

German-Jewish origin. Jhabvala attended Jewish segregated school before she immigrated in 1939 with her family to Britain. Her

family

Hendon,

settled

in

northwest

London, where Jhabvala attended the local

prize-winning novelist and short story writer.

Country School. In her new home country she

Later on she became a two-time Academy

adopted the English language in an early age.

Award-winning screenwriter. Collaborating with Merchant

Ivory

Productions

together

with

During the Second World War she read Margaret

director James Ivory and the producer Ismail

Mitchell's “Gone With the Wind” which she took

Merchant they won six Academy Awards.

with her into an underground shelter during the bombings. In 1948 she became a British citizen. Studying

Analysis of Myself in India by Ruth

English literature at the University of London

Prawer Jhabvala

she received her MA in 1951. In the same year she married and afterwards she moved to India. For the next 24 years she lived in New Delhi. Losing interest with India and the Indian way of living she moved to New York City in 1975. Yet again she changes her citizenship, this time to be an US citizen. During her writing career she became Booker

By Atle Strømstad, Ulrik Broge & Kristoffer Nygaard Jhabvala refers to India as an animal, because she sees it as a living thing, an untamed life form. According to Jhabvalas perception, there are several types of animals that partially fit the description of India. India is wild and brutal as a tiger, but carries people through life on an

5


elephant. It also resembles a sick starving dog with all its poverty and illness.

She sees religion in India, as maybe the reason for the way India is the intolerable country that

Furthermore she states that the best way to

she thinks it is. And she finds it ironic that the

adjust to India is to accept India‟s conditions, this

Indians can "see God in a cow", when all the

is what Indians do because they believe in

cows she sees is starving and full of diseases. Is

reincarnation. If you are poor in this life, then

that a picture of God?

you might do better in the next life, and if you are rich in this life, it is because you have

We think that one should be true to ones self, but

deserved it by being good in a past life. Jhabvala

still be able to accept the surroundings that one

seems to understand the way of life in India, but

lives in, even though it is not the culture that one

she doesn‟t seem to be embracing it as her way

has grown up in. If becoming Indian is to adapt

of life.

fully to the culture, then Jhabvala could never fully be an Indian, she will always carry a part of

There are what she calls westernized Indians and

her own culture within herself.

then there are the 'traditional' Indians. She has

She is in a continuous culture shock. She still

problem relating to the westernized Indians as

maintains a lot of her own cultural behavior and

she sees them living a 'synthetic' life, e.g. that

seems to become annoyed by a lot of small

there is no truth behind their lifestyle, or you

things, that summed up becomes a culture shock

could say that their life is artificially created, as it

lasting years and years.

is set in stones, according to how it should be

Her difficulties of integrating make us think, that

lived. The Europeans she divides into two

this is a clear picture of a woman who is afraid of

groups, one that embraces the Indian lifestyle,

losing her identity in terms of letting go of her

and the other is defiant in keeping their way of

western cultural views on life.

life. She dislikes the Europeans embracing the Indian culture, because they will return home before they can see the whole picture and the defiant ones cannot see the whole picture.

When reading Jhabvala‟s essay, India seems to be a harsh place to live in, with a lot of injustice. I don‟t think I could cope living in India in the long run. I would feel isolated and out of place, not belonging anywhere.

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Dear editor By Atle Strømstad, Ulrik Broge & Kristoffer Nygaard Regarding Ian Ahmed Newton's comment about East is East last month, I am appalled that Mr Newton has such obvious lack of insight into mixed marriages. It is clear that Mr Newton misses this point in his 'garbage' review of the film, and I find it curious that he, with a mixed cultural background, cannot see this himself. First of all the story is based on the childhood events of the writer Ayub Khan-Din and therefore very realistic. It is a common problem in many mixed marriages between any types of culture, that the foreign part in the marriage has a need to give the children a part of his/her own culture and identity. This is obviously the father‟s problem, even though he is integrated into English culture, he finds that his own identity is being lost, when the children are not picking up his customs. The children's point of view is based on the fact that they are growing up in a British culture. They find it difficult to understand their father's point of view in carrying out customs and traditions. His reasons for acting like he does makes no sense to a British citizen without knowing anything about his culture and religion. After all, this movie gives us an insight into the problems of two cultures colliding and the need to hold on to your own identity. I therefore strongly recommend that Mr Newton to watch the film again with a different set of glasses, as he has clearly missed the point of the film.

Sincerly S. P. Ice

Reader’s competition

The Chickens disaster

The magazine has held a competition asking

By Kristoffer Nygaard

readers to submit a story based on Witi Ihimaera’s The Other Side of the Fence. Three of

Well, it all started when I was six years old. I

the best stories will be published. The three

lived with my family who besides me, counted

winners are as follows;

my five siblings and my mother, who by the way could be very strict when she was in her bad mood, and my father who just did what mom told him to do. We lived in a nice neighbourhood with

some

great

neighbours

called

the

Hammonds. Sam was the father of the family

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and

the

mother

was called

Jackie. They had two kids called Kevin and Kylie. My little sister Hanna always went to their house on Sundays when they came home from their picnic to get the cakes which they didn‟t ate.

The

Hammonds

liked

Hannah and they always gave her some cake she could share with the rest of us.

that Mr Hammond would get very upset with

For a long time I helped Mr Hammond in his

me for destroying the eggs. I was in my bed just

henhouse and especially one hen was my

waiting for Mr Hammond to come and talk to

favourite. Her name was Claire and she was

me but I couldn‟t hear anything. Suddenly I

about to lay eggs. I had taken good care of her

could hear from the outside:

and I gave her something to eat and drink every

- You damn kids never come on my property

day. I really liked Mr Hammond because he let

again

me take care of his hen.

- What‟s wrong Mr Hammond? My older brother

- Have you given her enough food today Jimmy?

Joseph said.

Mr Hammond asked me.

- You know exactly what‟s wrong, don‟t you

- Yes I think so Mr Hammond. I really hope she

ever set a foot on my side of the fence again.

will give you a lot of eggs Mr Hammond

My mom went out and she started arguing with

- That‟s what I am hoping too Jimmy, you have

Mr Hammond. I felt sorry for Mr Hammond but

been taking good care of her.

my mom was in her bad mood so I didn‟t dare to

This was pretty much what I did every day, I

tell her that I had been doing it. After a while the

really enjoyed it. But one Sunday when the

silence came again but not for long. Suddenly Mr

Hammonds were on their usual picnic I went to

Hammond came to apologize. He talked with

give Claire some food. This day she was a little

my mom and first I didn‟t know if I should go

bit angry and I didn‟t know why. Then I saw

out there because of the mood my mother was in

some eggs. I tried to move Claire but she started

that day. After a couple of minutes I went out

kicking with her feet, which destroyed most of

there but I stayed away from my mother‟s visual

the eggs, only two eggs didn‟t break. I ran as fast

angle. I was crying and Mr Hammond saw it, I

as I could to my room and stayed there the rest

was sure he knew that I had been doing it, but I

of the day. I told my sister Hannah that she

really hope he knew how sorry I was and how

should tell the Hammonds I got the flu if they

bad I felt about it.

asked for me. As the Hammonds came home I got more and more frightened, because I knew

8


The Chickens disaster

her body firmly pressed under my arm, I

By Atle Strømstad

managed to unhook the wire around her neck. But as I let her go, the disaster struck. She was

I crack another egg, and let it slip into the bowl,

flapping her useless wings so fervently that it

adding the milk, pepper and salt. As so many

brought me off balance. I tried to regain my

times before, my thoughts lead back to a certain

momentum by grabbing hold of one of the shelf

childhood memory. It was Sunday and the sun

supports, but to no avail. I managed to twist my

was scorching hot outside. Mum‟s sister entered

body during the short fall, landing with one foot

the front door with a loud and cheerful „Ki ora

making a clear impression in the soft henhouse

Wahine‟ directed at my mother, and she replied

dirt. I was still overbalanced though and had to

„Haere Mai‟! She turns to me and gives me a light

use my hand to stop me from tasting the dirt.

puff towards the front door with the words “run

The second my hand touched the ground, I knew

a long now „tamaiti‟, this is women talk”. I knew

something was wrong. I had landed in Maria‟s

it was best to leave, never knowing when mum

little incubating spot, smashing four eggs in the

would throw one of her fits; they were so

process. Maria was placed back on the hatching

common those days. As I left the front door, I

nest, and I fled the shack as quickly as possible

remember how the smell of rotten eggs hit me as

with the thought that if I got caught by Mr

the wind came from west and directly from the

Saunders, he would have my little Maori Kakï.

mud pools. It reminded me to check on the Saunders family‟s hens, to see if any of them had hatched yet. Quickly I jumped the fence that Mr

The smell of scrambled eggs on the brink of becoming burnt brings me back from my reminiscing.

Shaking

my

head

at

the

Saunders thought would stop a Maori child,

continuously returning memory, I wonder if

smiled at the thought that all it did was fence in

things would have been different if I had told Mr

his own children. The Saunders were, as always,

Saunders the story as it was.

on their Sunday picnic, so the coast would be clear. As I closed in on the hen house, I heard that the commotion coming from the little shack was much louder than usual. I quickened the pace a little in anticipation of newly hatched chickens, but as I opened the door I saw the real reason for the ruckus. Mr Saunder‟s favourite hen, Maria, had gotten her head ironically stuck in the chicken wire. The wire was used as coverage in the top corner of the shack, and provided some air circulation on the hot summer days. I quickly climbed the hatching shelves and got to her before she strangled herself. Holding

The Chickens disaster By Ulrik Broge I remember back in the days, when I lived together with my family. Our neighbors, who were the most exiting thing on the street, were a British family consisting of two kids Brian and Kelly and their parents Ben and Alice. The neighbors had their British traditions and every Sunday they went away for picnic. Back then I was not familiar with that expression. But it was the day of the week where all of my brothers and

9


sisters could visit their house and try the different things they had thrown around the

The daily routine together with Ben in the

garden.

henhouse, watching his favorite hen lying on her

The father Ben, was my good friend, at that time.

eggs became such and excitement to me. So I

He never shouted at me, like he did with my

started my own routine.

brothers and sisters, I think he liked me. He

That Sunday it all went wrong.

taught me different things about the British way

I woke up thinking about Ben‟s favorite hen. He

of living and especially his hens and how to treat

had told me the day before that soon the eggs

them the right way. My mother always laughed

would crack and the chickens would come out.

at me, when I told her about Ben and his favorite

Therefore we had to be very careful about the

hen. I remember her saying “Hens are only for

hens and especially his favorite one.

eating, they are not pets”

I was sure that this was the day and I went

My mother liked Ben and Alice when they

straight to the henhouse. First I had to climb the

moved in and became our neighbors, but after a

big fence that Ben had put up last year and

while things didn‟t work out. My mother was

trough the garden of roses and other pretty

angry every time Ben yelled at my brothers and

flowers to the henhouse. Entering I heard the

sisters. She loved her children and became very

sound of the hens scratching the ground, but at

angry when other people told her what to do.

the same time I heard Ben‟s voice in my head

Now I realize what really was the problem. The

“Careful around the hens” I had to be check on

great differences between Maori culture and

the eggs. I lifted up the hen and watched. They

British culture were too big for Ben to handle.

were not cracked and I thought, “Maybe they

The children always had nice clean clothes and

need some help” I cracked them one by one but

clean hands. They always stayed by them selves.

nothing happened. No chickens came out.

They never came to visits if we didn‟t ask and

Quickly I placed the hen on top of the eggs again

besides that, they had a strict schedule for eating

and ran home, hoping for the best that when Ben

and drinking tea. The British have many rules

entered the henhouse that Sunday evening, small

and tradition that we don‟t know about as

chickens would dance around. That‟s not how it

Maoris. I imagine that is how it made it all

ended. Of course the chickens were dead and

difficult living as neighbors.

Ben went crazy, blaming everyone but me,

The day Ben went crazy was the day I messed

because I was his friend.

up. It was a Sunday. They were away for the day. Having their picnic. I still remember the tall, pale British man turning red and furious.

10


Cultural Encounters Project Three persons from the Cultural Encounters Project where asked to write an article stating their point of views of English as an international language.

English, the tower

foundation for the English

language of the world with

babel reversed

language. In Danish schools,

over a billion users, the bar

English is getting more and

for linguistic proficiency must

more attention and is on the

be raised.

With focus on the continuous

rise becoming one of the

There are several indications

growth of English as a widely

major compulsory subjects.

to why it is desirable to have

spoken and written language

This emphasis on English is a

students leave school with a

in the world, it is imperative

thing of necessity, but as the

higher

that educational institutions

future brings the world close,

English than they used to

in countries where English is

both

have.

not

language

culturally, one must consider

connection between financial,

follow suit in the race to

if it is enough. Even as

culture and tourism will only

achieve a more than adequate

English

become stronger in the future.

By Atle Strømstad Is it time to rebuild the tower of Babel? As Genesis and the story of the tower of Babel from the Holy Bible come to mind, one has to wonder if a lot of things would be easier with

a

language

that

everybody understood and spoke as a native language. It would

achieve

understanding

a

greater

and

unity

between nations and cultures. Where

Esperanto

failed,

English in the world of today is very well on its way becoming that language, but there is a long way to that goal is achieved.

the

native

economically

is

the

de

and

facto

understanding

The

of

interlocking

11


Many

multinational

corporate world continuously

slang terms used in massive

corporations of today have

growing closer.

multi-player

online

English

obligatory

There is, of course, a more

roleplaying

games

documentation form, and the

personal interest to students

(MMORPG), these are not

number

to have a more sufficient

suitable when it comes to

grow. These world-spanning

English.

technology,

academic and other none

companies force employees to

mainly the internet, binds the

personal pieces of writing. It

use

world closer together, it is

must

as

an

will

continue

English

at

a

to

more

As

be

made

clear

to

advanced level, especially

students that there is a

when

to

time for using slang and

reside

„trendy‟ terms, and there

it

comes

businesses within

that

certain

of

is a time when using the

expertise. Businesses that

good old Queens English

are

is the only accurate way

heavily

areas

technology,

financially

or

pharmaceutically use

more

to proceed.

based,

With English binding the

niche-oriented

world more and more

English full of work-related

together,

terms. Of course, this said,

trying to accommodate

schools

this

shouldn‟t

teach

and

schools

development,

English aiming for such

something must be in

specially

danger of being lost in the

branched

industries,

but

the

process.

Young

people

necessity of gearing up the

today might lose some of

students for more technical

their

culture

when

terms is not something that

important

English

English becomes a much

should

the

speakers of tomorrow can

too integrated language. It is

educational system. This is

address the right forum in a

said that Intuits have 100

something

proper way. As language is

words for snow if this is true

easily done by incorporating

not

and

or not should be left unsaid,

English into other subjects.

SVOCA, idioms, false friends

but if they do, what happens

Physics or social study classes

and phrasal verbs but also

to the meaning of the 99 other

in English, for instance, will

involves using the right form

words

broaden the students‟ mind

in the right forum, it is

translated? There is a danger

and strengthen their English

abundantly clear that using

that

when committing them to a

abbreviations such as LOL,

language and its culture will

BTW and AFK, which are

be lost in translation. This is

be

lost

that

on

could

be

just

that

grammar

that

part

of

don‟t

the

get

native

12


where

teachers

should

encourage their students to

Morning Yet On Creation Day

language to the extent that its

from 1975:

value

incorporate their culture into

as

a

medium

of

international exchange will be

the English language instead.

“The African writer should

As

novelist

aim to use English in a way

Chinua Achebe so eloquently

that brings out his message

This is something that should

puts it in his essay collection

best

African

English,

the

Nigerian

writers

students

but

of

also

English,

without

lost.”

altering

the

not be lost on not only

could

not

One has to avoid forcing the

advance in the school system.

English language on students

one

regardless if we are Danish,

in a way that will choke their

Indian or Brazilian, and it is

will to learn, but introduce it

the role of teachers to point

in a way where the students

them in the right direction.

can

Culture

incorporating

should

not

penalized

for

shortcomings

of

be the

participate

by

their

own

culture into the language.

English‟s

English is the language of our

ability to define and describe

century and most possibly of

part of a student‟s heritage.

our millennium, and are the

Though it will be essential for

successor of Latin as a world

students of tomorrow to have

language, dwarfing it by a

school days filled with the

mile. It reaches across the

English

is

globe and brings with it trade

important to bear in mind

and tourism and much, much

that the increase of this

more. I always think that

language,

it

workload is not something

Quite

is

through it we seek unity and

involuntarily pushed onto the

starting to get the appropriate

community at a larger scale,

students. The Kenyan author

attention

and I always do that when

Ngûgî wa Thiong'o explains

systems it should have, but it

remembering

so

is not enough to oblige the

teacher

Decolonizing the Mind: The

forthcoming

of

College for Teachers, final

Politics of Language in African

corporate leagues, and one

parting words as last class of

Literature, how the English

would not want to be left

English was over: „English is

language

on

behind in

a language that binds us

the

industry

horrifyingly

Kenyan

was

in

forced

students

and

his

clearly,

in

English

the

school

demands

global trade and just

because

the

native language was banned

educational

in school, and that without

cannot keep up with the

proper

demand of English expertise.

understanding

of

establishment

at

my the

English

University

together, it is the Tower of Babel reversed.‟

13


English these days

where the English live. He

English

like

By Kristoffer Nygaard

holds the opinion, that people

English”

is.

in

important to preserve the

The English language is the main language around the world although it is difficult to

count

the

English

amount

speaking

of

people

around the world. During the years the importance of the English

language

increased.

has

According

to

Chinua Achebe, who is a Nigerian author and poet at Brown

University,

English

language

the

brought

many Africans together and it gave them a language with which to talk to one another. Ha also claims that English is the language they have to learn in Africa in order to obtain

an

understandable

society. But how did English become such a worldwide language and why is it so important? According

to

Henry

Widdowson,

who

is

an

authority

in

the

field

of

applied

linguistics

and

language teaching, and his article “The ownership of English” is England where the language originated and

England

are

bound

“standard It

very

together with the language by

proper

both morphology and history.

difficult because of all the

He writes that England is the

new

place to go if you want real

around

and proper English. Of course

countries are making their

you

own

can

find

English

English

is

words

but

it

coming

the

world.

words,

is

up Other

which

is

a

elsewhere but these countries

combination of their own

have “stolen” the language

words and an English word.

and is not proper English.

In Germany they came up

The

Americans

for

an

with “telefon junkie” which is

have

the

a combination of the two

English language from the

languages. With all this talk

English colonists, who moved

about what real or proper

to England hundreds of years

English

ago to settle. That tells us,

originated but also about

that the English language

other countries making their

originated in England and it

own words, it would be easy

belongs to them. Like Henry

to think, that a lot of the

Widdowson

world‟s population would be

example,

they

writes

“(..

)a

is

and

luxuriant growth from imperial

considered

seed. Seeded among other people

speaking people.

as

where

it

English

but not cede to them.” This shows us the fact mentioned

Bill Bryson, who is a best-

above, that the real or proper

selling American author of

English language belongs to

humorous books on travel, as

England but is spoken in

well as books on the English

many countries around the

language and on science, is

world. He also writes about

Chancellor

of

“standard

University,

writes

would

be

English”

which

the

English

Language”,

a

authorities

quality.

English

in

his

article “English as a World

language from England with higher

Durham

that have

different put

the

around the world is also

number of people who speaks

English but not real or proper

English as a first language at

14


anywhere

between

300

whether you speak English or

British

million and 400 million. He

not? For me, an English

imperialism.

mentions

problems

speaking person is a person,

reason is an international

about this in his article. It is

who has the language as a

political

difficult to decide whether a

first language. A person in

English language provides a

person is speaking English or

Germany

something that seems to be

English

English

some

American The

second

reason,

because

can

speak

neutral

a

native

communication between the

is

speaker because he knows

different ethnic groups. Also

different.

how to speak the language. In

the use of English in the

According to Dr. Loreto Todd

that case the number of

media

of

the

English speaking people in

dimension. The third reason

world has 61 English-based

the world would be much

is

an

external

creoles

soar.

reason

because

but

really

something

Leeds

University,

around the world

who

and

is

not

which would increase the number of people who are speaking

English.

Another

problem is to decide if a person is speaking English or just thinks he is speaking it. He gives an example of an experience himself.

he

ones

had

He writes about a

brochure he ones had from Italy. It contained a dozen of pages, written in English, with twisted grammar and a lot of misspellings and if he asked the people of Italy if they could speak English, this author would be the first to raise his hand. This tells us, that the number of English speaking people around the world is very difficult to put an exact number on. Are you speaking English because you think you can or who decides

means

adds

a

of

further

economic of

the

dominant economic position Why English you could ask yourself. During the years English

has

obtained

the

position of the international

the USA has, which they use as a magnet for international business.

Because

of

the

position the English language

language in our world. According to the article “Excerpt 1� from The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language by David Crystal, who is an honorary

professor

linguistics

at

University,

of

Bangor

there

are

seven reasons of why English should have a special

status

countries

in

and

the why

Linguistic Professor David Crystal

people should learn it.

has today every multinational

The first reason is a historical

business

reason

many

establish offices in the major

their

English speaking countries.

English

Another reason is that there

because of the legacy of

are some practical reasons.

because

institutions

carry

proceedings

in

would

wish

to

15


English is the language of international air traffic

in Denmark are having a sort of free

and it is developing in police and emergency

schooling during the students first 3 school

services. The last reason I will mention is the

years, which means that the students do not

entertainment reason. All popular music is written in English and it is the main language of home computers and video games. These reasons are giving an indication of why English has a position of an international language in our world.

pass to the next class before they have a certain amount of skills. This is a way to make sure that the students in Denmark would have a certain level when they finish their school period.

The position of English in the world is very important. It is the most spoken language and you can find signs everywhere in the

The significance of the English

world with an English word on it. During

language in a global world

the years English has, because of the reasons

By Ulrik Broge

mentioned above, become more and more important. When business men are trading

I find the development of English in Denmark

with each other across countries English is

very interesting. As a teacher in English, I often

the spoken language and when some big

think about how I would prefer the position of

international political meeting is set

English

English is also the spoken language.

develop in the

Many countries around the world

future.

teachers

into their own language in order to

to develop the

only make sense in the certain

system

the

Danish

we

can

also

language

school

see

of

English decide

come up with new words, which

In

How

should we as

are adopting several English words

country.

to

in

the future? We

the

need to think

importance of English because the

about

education of English is starting in

globalization

an earlier age than just ten years ago. If we in

and English as an international language. I

Denmark

the

believe we, as teachers, are contributing to

international trading we have to educate our

maintain the wealth in Denmark by giving our

want

to

be

a

part

of

students from an early age and make sure that the education is working. Some schools

young students the tools to communicate and take part in a global community. Therefore we

16


need to consider globalization as a huge factor,

Traveling around the world you will most

in the development and positioning of English.

certainly see slogans like these, products and

We need to prepare the students for the

signs on the streets, stating numerous of

consequences that globalization brings. Such

different English statements or punch –lines. Bill

consequences as increased development in the

Bryson stresses the obvious observation, that

technology sector, sharing vital information with

English is the most global of languages. In his

companies

article he states his view on why products carry

abroad

and

the

process

of

outsourcing production. We need to make our

English statements or punch –lines.

students adjustable to the world, in terms of

“Products are deemed to be more exiting if they

creating a platform of an international language

carry English messages even when, as often

that makes it possible to cooperate with other

happens, the message don‟t make a lot of sense”

countries and share vital information and

Witnessing this as a sign, of the continuing

understanding. How do we then prepare our

development in sales- strategies and sharing

students? Is it a matter of integrating English in

information between nations, the need of a

schools early on, or do we need a different

shared language is essential. What are the

strategy to welcome the language demands for

reasons for this? The sales –strategies could be

the future?

based on the fact, that with an international language you are not going to miss out on any

In the following I will describe some of the

foreign customers. David Crystal is a linguist,

mechanisms of globalization and views on the

academic and author. He presents several

position of English to develop in the future.

reasons in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the

Furthermore a description and reflection on the

English Language. He writes that English is the

consequences that follows as a result of teaching

primary language of international business,

English in Denmark.

satellite broadcasting and home computers for that reason it is obvious that you will see the

The signs of an international language

English language everywhere you go.

Bill Bryson, who is a best-selling author and

A mutual understanding

Chancellor of Durham University writes about the many findings of the global language in his

By observing the medias and how we relate to

article “English as a world language”. On his

several things in our lives, we need to think

travels around the world and observations in the

about English as an international language.

media he witnesses these signs of globalization.

I base this view on what I see on the Internet,

“In Hong Kong you can find a place called the

what I read and what I notice when I travel

Plastic Bacon Factory. In Naples, according to the

around the world.

Observer, there is a sport shop called Snoopy‟s

On the Internet much of the communication is

Dribbling”

written

in

English,

especially

news

from

17


different

countries

like

newspapers and commercials concerning things like sport, shampoo, clothing etc. English is becoming the main language on the Internet, and if we consider how many people are influenced by it, we could easily describe English as an international language with a

and communal needs of different communities

common understanding. Henry Widdowson is an authority in the field of applied linguistics and language teaching. In his article “Who owns English today” He writes about how English serves the communicative an

international

people all over the world, the need for

understanding of the language is necessary. He

that enables them to participate in a global

continues by expressing the need for a common

society and at the same time have in mind, that

code

the

our country are going to benefit from this effort.

development in new transmission systems like

An effort, that supports the positioning of

the Internet.

English as a fundamental thing for living in the

“For there is little point in opening up such

world today. For that reason I prefer that the

amazing new transmission systems if what you

English language is to become a key factor in

transmit makes no sense at the other end. The

schools around the globe. English are to be

availability of these new channels calls for the

incorporated into schools from day one, to let the

maintenance of a common code”

students absorb the language as their own, and

Henry Widdowson also uses communicative

to acquire a great vocabulary. We need to take

effectiveness as the main reason for maintenance

action, if we want to stay in touch with this fast

of this common code, which could be the

evolving world. The vocabulary and general

keystone of a valuable cooperation with other

understanding of the language has to be almost

countries.

as good as the mother language, if we want to

based

a

Because of the Internet and how it connects

prepare and provide the students with the tools,

communicating,

and

meet the need of the communities involved.

shared

for

English

and how it stabilizes into a form required to

on

stay on top of the development in relation to

Reflection and conclusion

business and preserving the status as a wealthy country.

Looking at the signs of a world calling for an

All over the world the reasons for learning

international language, we as teachers need to be

English are becoming more and more intense.

aware of the facts. The facts that we are going to

David Crystal stresses that the intellectual

18


motive for learning English are described by the

therefore we need to place the importance of

facts, that most of the scientific, technological,

learning English side by side with the Danish

and academic information in the world is

language.

expressed in English, and over 80 per cent of all

Stating the fact, that I think English is to be

the information stored in electronic retrieval

included in schools at the same time as Danish,

systems is in English.

and basing my thoughts on views and meanings

This information illustrates the importance of for

of Bill Bryson, Henry Widdowson and David

being taught the English language to get an

Crystal I will conclude by saying, that this is the

education

way I prefer, the position of English to develop

by

understanding

the

academic

information in general. It is a matter of fact that

in the future.

we are in need of the English language, and

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