Non-Fiction Books:

English and the Discourses of Colonialism


Paperback / softback

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English and the Discourses of Colonialism by Alastair Pennycook
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Is the English language neutral, global and open to everyone? This text suggest not. Alastair Pennycook argues that the context of colonialism produced particular cultural constructs - discourses - that became linked to English. He questions the extent to which English is, as commonly assumed, an unencumbered medium of communication, and to what extent it is, by contrast, a language that comes laden with meanings. By examining colonial language policies in India, Malaysia and Hong Kong, this book shows how various policies emerged which both reflected and produced colonial discourses. Caught between Anglicism and Orientalism, colonial language policy was a significant site of production of images of English and images of the other. If the language we use is loaded, what are the implications for how we can construct a politics of opposition? Resistance is not simply a matter of arguing back; Pennycook ends by calling for joint strategies on a number of fronts to combat such discursive constructions.
Release date NZ
September 17th, 1998
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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