Transgressive theories and performativity around language Week 2
PART I (5:30-7:30) Blog Discussion: Questions, “rich points”, reflections Theory and ideology Gee Chapter 1 English(es) and Globalization Pennycook Ch. 1 and 2 Articles: Matsuda & Matsuda, Bombase, Bolton• Documentary: The Global Tongue: EnglishPART II (7:50-9:00)• Transgressive theories: Language as performance Pennycook Ch. 3 and 4 Sign-up for Presentations
Theories are ground beliefs and claims to know things: “A set of generalizations about an area” (p. 13) “All claims and beliefs are ideological” (p. 20) James Gee “Theory and meaning are moral matters” (p. 20) Explicit theory vs tacit theory. Holding non-primary theories. We have ethnical obligations to explicate out theories.Reflection: What’s your (evolving) theory of language andliteracy?
For me, the readings this week remain connected by the idea that the study of language must be an ethical endeavor, grounded in the notion that the many languaged beings we share our world with not only stand as equally "correct" in their semiotic systems, but also equally agented to communicate through them. Such an endeavor, as Matsuda and Matsuda note, is particularly complicated, as "[t]he dominance of codified varieties of English is constantly being reified by well-intended teachers and editors who try to help students and authors learn features of standardized written English" (371). In other words, in an effort to help students "compete" with native speakers on a global scale, teachers often end up reproducing deeply held beliefs that the English language is a great equalizer.
How is English as a global language related to cultural forms and practices? Does its cultural spread make it a culturally neutral language? Is the spread of English part of the homogenization of the world, or is it part of the greater diversification and heterogenization of the world? How and why does a set of cultural practices such as hip-hop spread across the world? (p. 5)
Write down two (or more) ideas/theories that strike you as important Write down two (or more) questions/critiques(How are these ideas connected to social justice issues?What are the authors pointing out? What are theymissing?)
English language has always been on the move:1) The expansion of British colonial power which peaked by the end of 19th century2) The emergence of United States as the major economic power of the 20th century.
Imperial Framework: Linguistic Imperialism (Phillipson, Tollefson, Cooke, Skutnabb-Kangas) Pluralistic Framework: World Englishes, Global Englishes, English as an international language (Jenkins, Kachru, Gradoll, Quirk, McArthur)
“the dominance of English is asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages” (p. 47) ““celebration of the growth of English” is tied to “an uncritical endorsement of capitalism, its science and technology, a modernization ideology, monolingualism as a norm, ideological globalization and internationalization, transnationalization, the Americanization and homogenization of world culture, linguistic, culture and media imperialism” (Phillipson, 1999, p. 274)
Periphery:1) “countries that require English as an international link”— Japan, Korea, Italy, Turkey2) “and those who use it intranational purposes”—India, Singapore (former colonial countries) Center:Countries in the Inner circle (USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia) 12
English is best taught monolingually The ideal of English teacher is a native speaker The earlier English is taught the better the results are. If other languages are used much, standards of English will drop. The more English is taught the better the results are. 13
There are significant differences between British and American colonial language policies. Recognizing the agency of colonial nations to impose English while overlooking the agency of learners Second language users can be seen as agents in its spread (Brutt-Griffler). Role of English in African contexts (Bisong, 1995) Debate between Phillipson-Bisong and Brutt-Griffler- Phillipson (See the handout)
A more dynamic exploration of global Englishes. There should be different standards for different contexts of use. Definition of Standard English should be determined locally. A need to re-examine traditional notions of codification and standardization (Kachru, 1985)
“In my view, the global diffusion of English has taken an interesting turn: the native speakers of this language seem to have lost the exclusive prerogative to control its standardization; in fact, if current statistics are any indication, they have become a minority. This socio-linguistic fact must be accepted and its implication recognized. What we need to know are new paradigms and perspective for linguistic and pedagogical research and for understanding the linguistic creativity in multilingual situations across cultures (Kachru, 1985, p. 30)
In this context, I could not help but to think about the ways in which my native language, Spanish, and English merge with one another and collaborate to the creation of a “new language:” some kind of Spanglish that only becomes meaningful whenever I interact with other individuals whose native language is also Spanish and English is their L2. As a result of the interaction between these two languages, my conversations with other Spanish expatriates are filled with English words that are somehow adapted to the Spanish language, not only in terms of pronunciation or spelling, but also in grammatical and syntactical terms. A great example of this is out transformation of the English verb “to hang out,” which frequently turns into a “Spanish word” as we say things such as “Vamos a hanguear” (Let’s hang out). In this case, the verb “to hang out” loses its final particle “out” and is submitted to: a) the Spanish conjugation of regular verbs; b) the spelling of the Spanish g-sound rather than the Spanish j-sound (which in a way is similar to the English “h” in words such as hot/hospital) and so it partially adapts to the English pronunciation of the “ng” particle.
I guess this “weirding [of] English,” is also some kind of what Kingsley Bolton explains as “bilinguals creativity” (461); but again, while Bolton coins this term within literary artistic terms, such is not the purpose behind the Spanish sentence “Vamos a hanguear.” What is, nevertheless, clear, is that this process of language transformation has – after so many years in the U.S.– affected the way in which I communicate with others, and consequently, my persona. It has affected my relationship with both the Spanish and the English languages, since not every time I speak Spanish is my audience fluent in English too. This linguistic contact zone, then, turns into an obstacle (or advantage?) upon which I stumble quite more often than I ever thought I would. And yet, I can’t wait to see which other new words I get to transform as I keep on with my linguistic performance.
English language complex (ELC)—McArthur (2003)Metropolitan Standards, Colonial Standards, RegionalDialects, Social dialects, Pidgin Englishes, CreoleEnglishes, EFL, Jargon Englishes, Hybrid Englishes. World Standard Spoken English (WSSE)— Crystal, 1997
What are the implications of pluricentricity? How’s bilingual’s creativity a manifestation of this hybridity used in writing? Should efforts be paid to maintain a central standard English (EIL standards?), or should different varieties of English be acknowledged and legitimized (and in what ways)? Is what we are now experiencing with globalization and English fundamentally new?
The issue of intelligibility, comprehensibility and interpretability Innovation versus norms English only in the U.S: Immigrant Englishes, Ebonics, Spanglish, Chicana etc. Creole Developments, sub-varieties Teaching and testing World Englishes The ownership of English: E.G. Native vs Non0native speaking teachers (NNEST) in ELT
To what extend do you agree with Matsuda &Matsuda’s claims when they say “To not make the dominant codes available to students who seek them would be doing disservice to students, leading to their economic and social marginalization” (p. 372)? Do you think we are creating a binary discourses in writing classrooms such as:“WE for literary texts and SE/ME for “serious” texts”“WE for home; SE for school”“WE for discoursal features; ME for grammar”(Canagarajah, 2006, p. 594)Are we sanitizing academic texts written in WE?
…even the term world Englishes suggest that there is an authentic category of “English” from which these other category of world Englishes deviate. Kingsley Bolton argues that creativity has provided an authenticating platform for world Englishes. He says that, “colonialism and its aftermath had given rise to new literatures that were redefining the canon of English literature” (458).However, this acceptance has led to enforced dichotomization between creative writing and other forms of writing. Hence Chinua Achebe can alter the English language in Things Fall Apart to narrate a unique Igbo experience, but when Achebe writes essays he does not have the same privileges. From where I stand, “colonialism and its aftermath” has given rise to this forced dichotomy and lead to a forceful attachment of “bilingual creativity” to the English “canon”.
What I am trying to say is that as a nonnative speaker of English, I cannot imagine English in the same terms as Pennycook when he says: “English is a translocal language, a language of fluidity and fixity that moves across, while becoming embedded in, the materiality of localities and social relations. English is bound up with transcultural flows, a language of imagined communities and refashioning identities” (21). Using English in Ghana or in the United States remains an oppressive advantage because of my personal and collective experiences with English. Though this view forms part of the same ones that Pennycook critiques as bounded up with the past, my experiences reinforce English as a language that predetermines my engagement with dominant power structures. Like James Joyce so aptly captures through Stephen Dedalus in the Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist, “my soul frets at the shadow of [this] language.”
How much room is there for creativity in our classrooms when students have been indoctrinated to have very little creative engagement in prior educational settings that teach to standardized tests? (Lisa) How, then, do we as teachers and scholars and researchers reclaim for both ourselves and our students the linguistically diverse resources offered us by globalization? (Moria) Why are my standards for academic/professional language still one way, while those for creative pursuits are another? (Erin) I feel that Im caught in this divide which is now affecting all instructors who deal with "cultural" subjects involving a literary "canon" - at what point do we focus on whats "right," and to what degree do we tell students that they must learn to independently describe the shifting norms in our increasingly global world? (Ryan)
Reimagining language is reimagining modernity(Foucault, 1970)—How does modernity produce structures ofinequality?“Crossing” (Rampton, 1999): how members of certain groupsuse forms of speech from other groups –or ‘styling the Other.“ways in which people use language and dialect as discursivepractice to appropriate, explore, reproduce, or challengeinfluential images and stereotypes of groups that they don’tthemselves belong to “ (Rampton, 1999, p. 421)Semiotic reconstruction and performativity,
The Global Tongue: EnglishWhich of the issues we discussed appear in thisdocumentary?
A shift from an “autonomous” view of language to a more “ideological” model. Critical Applied linguistics as a “movable praxis” (p. 37). Anti-disciplinary and transgressive knowledge.What’s the shift that Pennycook talking about? How’s heusing the notion of “transgressive”?
Bhaba ( 1994): third-space and hybridity. “Difference is neither One nor the Other but something else besides, in-between” (p. 219) Transculturation practices point to the ways in which those apparently on the receiving end of cultural and linguistic domination select, appropriate, refashion, and return new cultural and linguistic forms through complex interactive cultural groups” (p. 47) Pennycook urges us to think about the “Alternative spaces of cultural production” while “never losing sight of the uneven terrain” (p. 47)
A translingual approach to writing: What might these alternative spaces look like in a writing classroom?
Chomskian and Sassurean competence (the abstract underlying ability to use language) and performance 9actual realization) divide in 60’s and 70’s- massive influence on language pedagogy! In late 70’s many linguists including Halliday rejects this distinction. Dell Hymes: Communicative Competence. Debunking the ideal speech community. It’s in the performance that we make the difference and challenge the centrality of competence over performance. “We perform identities with words; we also perform languages with words” (p. 73) Somatic Turn