In Europe and throughout the world, competence in English is spreading at a speed never achieved by any language in human history. This apparently irresistible growing dominance of English is frequently perceived and sometimes indignantly denounced as being grossly unjust.
Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World starts off arguing that the dissemination of competence in a common lingua franca is a process to be welcomed and accelerated, most fundamentally because it provides the the struggle for greater justice with an essential weapon: a cheap medium of cross-border communication and mobilization.
However, the resulting linguistic situation is arguably unjust in three distinct senses. Firstly, the adoption of one natural language as the lingua franca implies that its native speakers are getting a free ride by benefiting costlessly from the learning effort of others. Secondly, Anglophones gain greater opportunities as a result of competence in their native language becoming a more valuable asset. Thirdly, the privilege given to one language failes to show equal respect for the various
langauges with which different portions of the population concerned identify.
The book spells out the corresponding interpretations of linguistic justice as cooperative justice, distributive justice, and parity of esteem. It discusses a wide range of policies that might help achieve linguistic justice in these three senses, from a linguistic tax on Anglophone countries to the banning of dubbing or the linguistic territoriality principle. It also argues that linguistic diversity, though not valuable in itself, will nonetheless need to be protected as a by-product of the
pursuit of linguistic justice as parity of esteem.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 490 g
Dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
Aside from addressing a phenomenon the spread of English as a lingua franca that is increasingly global in scope, the questions of justice that Van Parijs raises are ones that not only political theorists but also governments of all nationalities should attend to. He also manages to provide a comprehensive theory of linguistic justice something that few others have so far attempted along with a rich and often illuminating factual discussion of how the use of
English continues to spread, and how individuals' different native linguistic competencies mean that the benefits of this growth are enjoyed asymmetrically.[continued below]
Overall, the book is engaging and well written, and represents an insightful and dispassionate foray into a domain in which, as Van Parijs notes in his introduction, 'emotion often rules unbridled'. It is a welcome addition to the growing philosophical literature on language rights, and should be considered essential reading for theorists working in this field. * Matt Watson, Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development *
This book...is of very high relevance for business, because it reflects critically about the development of using English as Europeas lingua franca on almost each and everylevel of social interaction.