`A very welcome and much-needed broadening of current theoretical perspectives' - Professor Norman Fairclough This book offers a major reappraisal of the role of language in the social world. Focusing on three main areas - the global spread of English; Standard English; and language and sexism - The Politics of English: examines World English in relation to international capitalism and colonialism; analyzes the ideological underpinnings of the debate about Standard English; and locates sexism in language as arising from social relations. Locating itself in the classical Marxist tradition, this book shows how language is both shaped by, and contributes to social life.

The Politics of Standard English

The Politics of Standard English

The politics of Standard English

The Italian socialist, Antonio Gramsci, in one of his many writings on linguistics, maintained that language controversies always arose alongside other social problems as part of the ruling class's attempt to reassert its ideological sway. The ‘language question’ in Italy was, as the Sardinian Gramsci knew well, an aspect of political struggle, and the imposition of one language, a political act (Gramsci 1985:182–187). Today the controversies surrounding Standard English, from whatever part of the English-speaking world they surface, betoken the ideological unease in periods of political upheaval observed so accurately by Gramsci.

In Britain the debate over Standard English has arisen in a specific political and educational context. The attempt to foist conservative views about language in ...

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