The Political Economy of Language Use In Global Relationships: Some Useful Concepts


A picture from my recent marriage to my Korean wife

  • This essay is the result of a research project I conducted into the code-switching patterns between couples who share different first languages. My wife is Korean; she also speaks English and a bit of Japanese. I am American; I also speak Portuguese and a bit of Korean. Together, we speak a bit of lots of things.  I was always paying close attention to the use of language between us. But it wasn’t until I was introduced to Jan Bloomaert’s Sociolinguistics of Globalization that I realized I wanted to know a lot more.


This post intends to examine the intersection of bilingualism, biculturalism and globalization in the private and public lives of international romantic relationships. It is something of a cliché to mention the ever-globalizing world when prefacing research which appears to be due in part to the technological and educational effects of globalism. However, in addition to the political and demographic interest this subject holds for many people, researchers and lay-persons alike, this particular crossroads of language use provides an elusive opportunity to examine language acts which are by definition, private.

The Korean context of international marriage is an interesting setting due to historical governmental restrictions on the practice and the now open phenomena in the globalized. Little sociolinguistic research into the language use of these new couples has been completed as of yet (see Lim, 2010). This current study will begin first with laying the foundational theoretical work and tools used by previous researchers to examine language use in international couples. Then, using that framework as a guide, we will provide a methodology for examining a small case study of international couples in Korea.

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Virtues and Weakness, Cross-culturally

I often find that who I think I am, and the things I value, present a completely different image to other people than to myself.  That who I think I am, often is interpreted as something that I personally do not identify with, in the minds of other people.

Cross-cultural communication is a tough nut to crack (in small part because languages and cultures have so many idiomatic expressions!).  What one culture views as pedestrian can be scandalous to another.  What one culture values highly is ignored by another.  A recent example in my life involved describing a picture of a new friend as “gangster”, a harmless semi-joke in my cultural-dialect, but which caused a fairly confused reaction that could have been hurtful.  Thankfully, we both worked to a place of mutual understanding.  One where I won’t call her “gangster” again, and she learned to understand and forgive my not-funny joke.


But often our perceptions of others, particularly “others” of a different culture go as unchallenged assumptions by both the assumer and the assumee. Partially perhaps because one or both are consciously unaware that the assumption has been made.  In other circumstances, the Assumer assumes without seeking clarification from the assumed.  Leading the Assumer to view the actions of the other person through a very different lens than the assumptions that color the view of the assumed.

This is all abstract.  Let me get personal.

Here is a short list of qualities that I find virtuous, and want in myself:
Critical thought

Here, now, are some examples of how what I feel is a personal virtue, are seen as faults or weaknesses.

– A former roommate of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time came up to me and started with this, “Hey! So you still bitter or what?”  (doubt, critical thought).  It took me by surprise and it also hurt a little bit.  But my non-conformity to some beliefs that he held meant in his mind that I was primarily, bitter, for not accepting those cultural mores.

– A Korean girlfriend once told me she didn’t like having to “lead” with a boyfriend.  That it was the man’s responsibility to make (most) decisions in the relationship.  In an attempt to identify with her beliefs (empathy) I taught her to tell me, “be a man!” whenever she felt I wasn’t being “boyfriendish” enough.

That quickly turned out badly, as I don’t care to “lead” a girl around anymore than she wants to.  (equality).  I believe women are my equals and have an equal say in relationship decisions.  Telling me to “be a man” was essentially the same as dragging my confidence into a dark alley, mugging it, taking all its cash and then spitting in its face for good measure.  I ended up moving in the opposite direction of “manliness” with her.

– I once asked a close Korean friend to watch a TEDtalk by Brene Brown on vulnerability, and told them, “I really like what she says and think vulnerability is a really important character trait for me”.  I wanted my friend to understand me a little better, and they wanted to learn English better, so.. win win.

They watched a part and when I asked them about it they said, “oh yeah, that video, I think it’s about weakness?” (Brene Brown says this is one of the great myths of vulernability, that it is “weakness”).

These examples often make me feel vulernable in a not-so-good kind of way.  As if the things that I spend my time trying to cultivate in myself end up only defining me in a completely different and undesirable way.  But these examples are also more clear cut.  If I were able, I could clarify with each of these friends and maybe come to a place of understanding.  This is because the Assumer (my friends) showed me what they think of my virtues, which hurts, but also offers an opportunity for understanding.

I have in the past, referenced my “fears” as a teacher and also how I understand myself as a teacher.  Those things have certainly changed overtime, but what continues to nag at me, is how what I am doing in this classroom is percieved by my students, their parents and Korean society at large.

And equally, I fear that what my students, their families and Korean society value, may be greatly misunderstood on my part and misrepresented in my mind and words.  Often it is only in hindsight that one realizes the assumptions or opinions one holds against another are fabrications in their own minds, and don’t reflect actual reality, to say nothing of the reality in the other’s mind.

Rachel Jeantel, Black English and Linguistic Authority

aave6As a linguistics undergraduate who was interested in preserving Endangered Languages, I realized quickly that the general population of the United States holds mostly contrary views concerning language compared with  linguists.  For whatever reason (take your pick, honestly) the average US citizen is either consciously against the idea of promoting or using non-standard dialects, or they are oblivious to the idea of “other” dialects.

This usually comes from a place of well-meaning.  Speakers of minority dialects (who also never learned the standard variety) often suffer from other problems, like poverty.  They usually live in either very rural or very urban areas, where access to the best education is harder to come by and they have fewer resources to deal with that.  How people speak is often the first or second thing you come to understand about another person.  And like the first look, the first words are all part of that “first impression” that can leave us with a premature judgement of another person.

So, when people are against “Ebonics”, what they think they are arguing for is helping these people who speak non-standard varieties to acquire the traits that will lift them from their poverty, from the poor first impressions people may have of them or from whatever else.  It does come from a place of wanting to help.

That doesn’t make it any less misguided.

The pop-linguistics world has been debating this (old) topic recently because of the George Zimmerman trial, and the now infamous witness, Rachel Jeantel.  Her African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) proved to be difficult for most of the United States, who cared enough to comment.  And even after linguists chimed in to help dispell myths, most people remained unconvinced.  AAVE is just bad, they say.  It keeps people poor, they say.  The first step out of poverty is learning Standard American English.

Sadly, they are missing the point.  On the r/ Linguistics forum at, user, u/ Choosing_is_a_sin  explains fairly simply why we need to recognize AAVE (and other minority dialects) in our education system.  Why the Ebonics debate of the 1990s was mis-interpreted (and is still, frustratingly, misinterpreted).  Presented here in its entirety:

Grr, I typed out a long response, and the thread was deleted. So I’m posting it here.

Reinforcing AAVE in young children is setting them up for failure. It teaches them to rely on a dialect that is perceived as ignorant and racially charged. Students being taught AAVE will leave school unprepared for life in the real world, unless they plan on staying in Oakland for the rest of their lives. It is simply another way to restart the cycle of poverty and keep these kids trapped in the lower classes.

It’s hard to see how telling kids that the way they and their family, friends and neighbors speak is unacceptable, deficient, or otherwise undesirable is setting them up for success. From an early age, they are taught that how they speak is wrong, rather than different. By teaching them that the way they speak is natural fully grammatical, you instill a pride in how they speak rather than reinforcing a prejudice. It also allows you to draw a distinction between home language and school language. Just as kids have different rules for behavior at home and at school (e.g. needing permission to go to the bathroom at school but not at home), there are different ways of speaking and writing for home and school. Neither is better, but they each serve their own function. Furthermore, the home language can then be used as a legitimate source of comparison with the school language. Kids not only learn explicitly what the differences are (rather than expecting them to simply figure it out), but they also get a chance to develop metalinguistic awareness, that is, knowledge about how different varieties work. This was the plan of the Oakland School district, as described in the source you linked to: teach kids Standard English using AAVE as a starting point. As the article points out, it would have been nonsensical to teach the kids AAVE, since they already came to school speaking it. It would be like spending time teaching kids the order of English adjectives: no native speaking child of English says the red big boat, and accordingly schools spend no time teaching them how to order them. Instead they focus on teaching things that are unlikely to be part of children’s language input such as who vs. whom and me and my friendsversus my friends and I— things that are part of a formal register that would cease to be used if schools didn’t impose them. AAVE-speaking students would also learn how standard English be is learned, and how street is pronounced in standard English and their home language.

Your suggested way of pedagogy is like abstinence education. Show them only one way to do things and then just hope for the best that they take it heart. Like abstinence education, that technique was failing in the Oakland schools. As you know, Oakland is not exactly a model for educational achievement in the US. The school board wasn’t trying to find new ways to hinder success. They were trying to improve achievement on tests written and evaluated through the lens of standard English. They hoped to exploit the differences between the two varieties to help their students break out of the cycle of poverty.

If a legal witness is giving their statements in something we are considering a non-English language, shouldn’t they require an interpreter? A witness speaking Spanish would be given a translator – the press wouldn’t accuse the jury of bigotry for not understanding Spanish, so why are they bigots for not understanding AAVE?

It might very well have been helpful for there to be an interpreter. The Department of Justice has in the past recognized the need for specialists in AAVE, which shows a sensitivity to the differences that exist and the need for people who know it and Standard English really well. But lawyers and judges don’t always realize that the differences that exist between AAVE and standard English are important and have the potential to mean very different things (see the discussion in the article you linked about the errors in the mock dialogue by a black non-AAVE speaker). There was also a case that I heard about just today where a speaker of Jamaican Creole (also known as Patois/Patwa) had no interpreter in a death penalty case in Florida, and as a result, some of his statements were misinterpreted. Jamaican Creole is much more obviously a separate language than AAVE is, but it’s close enough that people think they can understand it, even when the two diverge. So perhaps speakers of AAVE who are not also speakers of Standard English should indeed have access to interpreters (note that translator is usually reserved in technical contexts for written translation, while interpreter is used for spoken), just to be sure that their statements are construed as they intended.

And no one is bigoted for not understanding a language or not understanding how someone speaks. They are bigoted if they say that how a native speaker speaks their language is wrong or bad because it is different from the variety that they prefer. The use of AAVE in a courtroom is situationally dispreferred, especially since the judge and jury cannot be assumed to speak it. But the same would be true of other non-regional varieties of English. Was there somewhere in the press that said the jurors were bigoted (or even that the jurors didn’t understand)?

I believe that supporting AAVE is simply a politically correct reaction, and that educators are unwilling to call it a mistake, because that might imply a racial bias. Would those educators willingly teach South Georgian dialects as legitimate language? What about Bostonian slang, is that a legitimate language?

Usually when we call something a mistake, it indicates that it’s some anomaly, one that’s done either when someone knows the right way or when it’s just a procedural error by someone who hasn’t learned the correct way. But the use of AAVE isn’t inherently a mistake. It’s a variety that developed through segregation and one that continues in large part because of de facto segregation. It is also a rule-governed variety. It’s not just Standard English with random, unpredictable mistakes like we might expect from a Hungarian or Vietnamese immigrant. There are systematic differences between AAVE and Standard English, differences that are documented in the article you’ve linked. Why, if we can identify systematic, meaningful differences, would we turn around and just call them mistakes? It makes no sense. As far as teaching southern Georgian or Bostonian characteristics, I’d point out that Jimmy Carter knew southern Georgian and John F. Kennedy spoke like a Bostonian and they did just fine (well, it wasn’t their language that caused them problems). And the idea that the home language should be used as a medium of instruction to teach a standard language is popular around the world, and I’m sure that if students in Boston or southern Georgia were having trouble filtering out grammatical features of the area from their standard English, there would be teachers would not hesitate to point out that there are differences between the two and that only one is what’s used in school. I’d also point out that ‘slang’ is not a language. The article you link says it quite well: Comparing slang to language is like comparing a few drops of hot sauce to dinner.

So in conclusion, teaching the legitimacy of AAVE is an excellent way to teach standard English, and can ultimately help to improve the standing of African Americans in a way that does not denigrate the way they speak as somehow deficient.

Extremely Embarrassing Spelling

I’ve finished grading essays and spent the last couple of days evaluating my students speaking abilities, of which I do have some things I want to say.  But before I write that piece, I want to write this one.

Before work today, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across this little ditty from a local TV network (local as in, Utah), KUTV:


The headline reads: “Florida transportation officials are dealing with an extremely embarrassing mistake. This sign was about to go up before a worker discovered the error” (italics mine).

Maybe it’s just because it is early in the morning, but I was annoyed that they would choose to describe a simple, simple typo as an “extremely embarrassing mistake”.  But then I went to the comment section:

“When you hire people who don’t speak english, this is what you get.”

“Ah no problem the tax payers will pay the mexicans to make it again”

“What happens when you outsource to China?”

“engrish only please”

And so on… Not all the comments were racist, nor were they all offensive.  Some simply said, “funny!” (which could be true).  Some called other people out on their racism, not all hope is lost.

In thinking about the sign, the news story and the public reaction (in Utah), I started thinking about what it means to spell correctly in our society, and in the English-speaking world.  English spelling is notoriously difficult (but even that criticism is overblown).  Not all languages and cultures have a thing called a Spelling Bee.  But in America, the contest over best speller is broadcast over ESPN (which is awesome).  We put a bit of emphasis and pride on our ability to spell correctly.

But I also started thinking about the racism involved.  Have you noticed who we don’t expect to spell very well? Mexicans, The Chinese, anyone who learns English as a second language.  Certainly anyone in the process of learning a second language will have difficulties with spelling and speaking, but at a certain point, errors in spelling become one of category and not one of degree. Lesly Wade-Woolley and Linda S. Siegel discovered that second-language speakers of English make different not more spelling errors than native speakers.  And this makes sense.  ESL speakers rely on many different techniques to learn the language, one of which is using writing to help learn words and grammar.  Native speakers learn the language orally and then learn how to write.  This helps explain why native speakers of English often have such a hard time with There, Their and They’re, or two, too, and to.

Ok, sure, we’ll buy this idea.  Nobody really has to argue very hard against racism.  But I think there is something else that is at work here that is wholly intra-native-speaker.  While racism explains the comments of some of the viewers, another question might be, why is this news-worthy at all?  It is foolish to simply dismiss it as, “well, it’s not!”  Many people commented on the news bit, there is obviously a market for pointing out grammatical/spelling errors.  It is news.

One explanation (that I like) has to do with the role of the Grammarian in our society.  No one thinks about the local language-authority as anyone particularly special, but I have in the past described them as cultural heroes.  The people who set forth the rules and edicts of the proper use of any language.  We spend much of our education learning the proper syntax, spelling and word choice to use in our language.  Which seems very odd, since we were essentially fluent in our language by the age of 3 or 4.  And yet we spend years and years afterwards perfecting what are often completely made-up rules about language. Don’t strand prepositions, don’t split infinitives, don’t use “hopefully” to describe an uncertainty and so on.

I personally like the explanation put forth via Veblan Economics of the Leisure class.  I’m but a novice-amateur in the field of Economics and its history, but it provides a framework that is helpful, I think.  Essentially, what Veblan puts forth is that we are driven via biological, evolutionary principles towards “conspicuous consumption”.  It is desirable to have things, and even more so to have things that you can waste.  This is the difference between Lord and Serf, and in our modern times, our conspicuous consumption is often things having to do with time.

How much time do you spend on vacation versus working?  How much golf do you play?  How many days did you spend out of the office?  These things signal your ability to consume, rather than produce.  Clothing is similar.  The business-suit is desirable, in part, because it is wholly unsuitable for manual labor.  It shows the wearer to be above the tasks of the working class.

And in this line of thinking, knowing proper grammar and how to spell correctly are evidences that you have spent years educating yourself in those tasks.  Notice, knowing how to spell correctly and use prescriptive grammar are not productive.  They don’t produce anything.  Being able to point out the mistakes of others is not actually about grammar. It is about signaling your ability to consume.  You had the privilege to spend your time learning non-productive pursuits instead of productive ones.

To be clear here, I am using “productive” here in a very literal sense, not the connotative sense of “hard-worker”.  Grammar-nazis can be very productive in what they do, but they aren’t actually producing anything.

And so we point out when someone makes a spelling mistake, but we don’t just point it out, we describe the event as, “extremely embarrassing” as if misplacing an “I” were somehow similar to pissing yourself in public.

— Of course, in writing this little ditty, it could be argued that I am engaging in the very act that I am describing.  I am demonstrating my knowledge (presumed knowledge, until someone stumbles across this blog and shows my ignorance, an event I am sure KUTV would describe as “extremely embarrassing”) of Veblen Economics, of Grammar, and Spelling.  As XKCD said it:

Historical and moral arguments for language reclamation

A great explanation and argument for Language Revitalization.  My thoughts on the subject can be read here.

History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences

Ghil‘ad Zuckermann
University of Adelaide

Language is an archaeological vehicle, full of the remnants of dead and living pasts, lost and buried civilizations and technologies. The language we speak is a whole palimpsest of human effort and history.
Russell Hoban (children’s writer, 1925-2011 – cf. Haffenden 1985: 138)


Linguicide (language killing) and glottophagy (language eating) have made Australia an unlucky country. These twin forces have been in operation in Australia since the early colonial period, when efforts were made to prevent Aboriginal people from continuing to speak their language, in order to ‘civilize’ them. Anthony Forster, a nineteenth-century financier and politician, gave voice to a colonial linguicide ideology, which was typical of much of the attitude towards Australian languages (Report on a public meeting of the South Australian Missionary Society in aid of the German Mission to the Aborigines, Southern Australian, 8 September 1843, p. 2, cf. Scrimgeour 2007:…

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Linguistic Consciousness-Raising

A few months ago, I saw a video of the Star-Spangled Banner being sung in Navajo.  It triggered a moment of clarity for me in that, I recognized in myself no conflict with the song being sung in another language other than English.

In fact, it felt almost super-patriotic, considering everything the United States has subjected the Native Americans to.

So, to book-end the language and authority series, we’re going to look at this idea, that says, “The national anthem and pledge of allegiance should ONLY be done in English”.  It is becoming more and more of an issue, as language classes around the country are teaching kids the pledge and other things in languages like Arabic.  And some people aren’t too happy about it.  But it seems to me that this is a case of discrimination and not one of patriotism.. or something equally bizarre, like.. the idea that the pledge only makes sense in English.

To show why.  Let’s watch two videos.  The first, is the Star-Spangled Banner being sung in Spanish.

And now, the Star-Spangled Banner sung in Navajo.

How was your reaction?  If you defend the proposition that the anthem should only be sung in English, were you equally upset by both versions?  Did you feel one was more offensive than the other?

Sadly, I can’t actually rely on anyone reading this article to respond authentically; because if you are a person who believes in the English-Only movement as one of patriotism, then you would be more than willing to lie about how you feel here.  Luckily, Youtube videos have ways of exposing the English-Only mindset.

Let’s start with the Navajo version.  First, over 77,000 views! 250 “likes” and 5 “dislikes”.  An overwhelmingly positive statistic.

But, more enlightening, are the comments.

diabolicalajyo 1 month ago

greatest anthem i have heard…

Leah Walentosky 6 months ago

This is a beautiful version of the anthem. This is the one that should be sung at the next superbowl.

MrReoification2 2 years ago

my great uncle was a dine code talker and my grandfather is chief joesph medicine crow

nicklane4 3 years ago

at our school in ganado we listen 2 this after pledge of allegence

And so on.  I tried to look on all the Navajo-sung videos, but I couldn’t find an example of a white person upset about this.  There is even a video from a Yankees game.  No one cared.  The only people who had negative comments were like this fellow:

travisnez 1 year ago

this song is a disgrace! Cannot believe it is still being sung in my language. After all it was the red, white & blue that tried to kill off my people. It’s sad that my sacred language is being used to sing this ridiculous song.

No “English only!” folks though.

Now for the Spanish version.  For some reason (hmm.. I wonder) the video does not have a ‘like/dislike’ count, but it has been viewed almost 147,000 times. (First difference, more people are aware of the Spanish version than the Navajo version).

A selection of comments (warning: the language is offensive).  The following is the very first comment on the video (as of today).

What the fuck is this shit?…this is the United States of America – speak English or get the fuck out of this great country

Reply ·

Natural8o9Reborn 1 day ago

You’re just an ignorant Troll. The USA is built on its multicultural society. Todos somos humanos, somos equales. I’m American, I speak two languages and im not even Latin. If it wasn’t for EVERY single race that is in our country, we wouldn’t be the “Great” country you speak of.

Reply · in reply to Sports70

LesterisMusic 8 months ago

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Exactly. First off, it sucks. Secondly, it just means nothing to Americans & it will never be absorbed, taken serious, or be part of America in reality. It was just a “pop” project and some artists made money making it in the studio, pfft. To hell with those who can’t handle the truth and that get “offended”, they’ll get over it. It will surely NEVER be a part of the American mainstream. Dicho. In the United States of America, there is the Star Spangled Banner, period.

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fucking spics cant learn anything other than spanish, a filthy dialect ,vulgar latin+ vulgar arabic+vulgar greek =spanish fuck spain. these latinoes dont even know what spanish is made up of even though they speak it. they got no culture, i speak also spanish but there’s nothing importan to learn in spanish unless its something important from another lnguage that was translated to spanish. i mean look at spain’s history in europe,never invented anything in science.fuck spain.


DerekIsAwesome1494 1 year ago

lol, English is the language made by the germanic barbarians who destroyed years of flourishing civilization by the Romans. The languages derived from Latin are the languages of Culture and Civilization, while English is the language of Barbarity and Murder, and Imperialism, and Genocide, and Racism. Plus, Spanish has more speakers than English.

Reply · in reply to murggik

PatrioticEagle50 10 months ago

The Roman Empire, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Italian Empire, all imperialistic, and their all LATIN language. How is english more imperialistic then Latin language nations? Or any other language for that matter? The chinese had several empires, the egyption empire, the aztec empire. Imperialism is not a Germanic idea, it is a human idea. The Romans, or the civilized culture, invaded germanic land, and you don’t expect them to fight?

Reply · in reply to DerekIsAwesome1494

I was fascinated by the latinate/Germanic conversation that erupted.

There is simply an overwhelming difference when someone hears the Star-Spangled Banner in Navajo compared to Spanish.  Why?  Is it because it’s unpatriotic? Well.. you can tell yourself that, but it doesn’t seem to explain the divergent reactions, does it?

What does help, is noting the difference in size of the two minority groups.  Latinos are an ever-growing part of the American geo-political landscape.  The Navajo and other Native American tribes were subjected to rampant racism, war and genocide that drastically reduced their numbers.  After awhile, we gave them “their lands” back to live on.  There are native Americans alive today who went to special boarding schools where they were corporeally punished for speaking their native language.  We used to care about natives speaking their language.  But they simply aren’t a big enough part of the population to matter anymore.  Mainstream America doesn’t need to worry about silly natives singing the national anthem in Navajo.

Let’s not forget that the Navajo and other tribes are perceived by mainstream America as some of the most ardent supporters of the United States.  The Navajo Code-talkers of WWII are a national treasure.

How do “English-only” types view Spanish-speakers?  With suspicion.  It feels un-patriotic in a way that Navajo doesn’t.   There are many Latino-Americans who, it should be noted, don’t even speak Spanish.  3rd generation latinos follow the same “grandfather” trend that all other immigrant peoples faced.  Which is that while 1st generation immigrants may only speak their native language, their children (2nd generation) will invariably be bilingual.  And by the 3rd generation, many of have lost the native language of the 1st generation altogether.  Some dialects of English like Chicano English are mistaken as “badly spoken English by a native-spanish speaker”, when in reality, many of the youth who speak Chicano English don’t speak Spanish.  Leaving them in this sort of no-man’s land, where they may believe they don’t speak a language at all.

Of course, English-Only types can’t out-right proclaim their racism, it’s in bad taste these days.  So instead we get the arguments that were addressed in the last post.  The idea that “multi-culturalism has failed” and the re-writing of history so that “English has always been the unifier of America!!”

But, really, while many good people may be convinced that an Official English amendment is a good thing; it simply boils down to this:  It is not about language.  It is not about protecting English.  It is not about helping minority groups.


National Unification, Bilingulism and Official English

Language and Authority – part 1 and part 2

Proponents of Official English claim that they seek merely to recognize a state of affairs that has existed since the founding of the nation. After two hundred years of common-law cohabitation with English, we have simply decided to make an honest woman of her, for the sake of the children.  — Geofrey Nunberg, The Official English Movement: Reimagining America


Here, we will approach the cultural movement in the United States of making English the “official” language of the land, which is closely tied to the “English-Only” movement (though not necessarily the same).  I will not address the popular quips, like, “why do I have to press 1 for English?” or “There should be English translations on all businesses”.  These ideas are superficial to the real philosophical and logical arguments behind the movement.  That is not to say that debating the superficial is meaningless.  It means that trying to address all those arguments is overwhelmingly time-consuming.  A more focused conversation addresses the underlying foundational beliefs.  I will, therefore, restrict my comments to addressing the two key figures in the Official English movement, Senator S. I. Hayakawa and Representative Norman Shumway.  You can read their positions here.

The argument for a constitutional amendment naming English as the official language of the United States, as argued by Senator Hayakawa and Rep. Shumway, rests on basically two founding ideas.  The first is national unification by common language and the second is the failure of bilingualism. This essay will first consider these foundational ideas and then prove them false based on current scientific research.

English as National Unifier

To begin, both men start in the same fashion by assigning English the title of unifier in the United States of America.  Senator Hayakawa describes American society as a “hodgepodge of nationalities, races, and colors represented in the immigrant hordes that people our nation” (Hawakawa 94); holding this society together is the common language.

Representative Shumway says, “common language has been the ‘glue’ which has held us together, forging strength and unity from our rich cultural diversity” (Shumway 121).  This unifying characteristic of language is a powerful idea and one which people in a society like the United States can secure themselves to, especially when it can be difficult to say what it really means to be an American.  With so much diversity, or at least perceived diversity, it can appear that the common bond which holds us all together, is that we all speak English.

However, this presupposition is not as sure a foundation as Hayakawa and Shumway have proposed.  Throughout the history of the United States, the attraction and unifer of this country has not ever been English.  The first European settlers; the Puritans, the French, the Spanish, the southern and eastern europeans after the revolution, the Asians in the 1900s and the modern latin immigrant, all share the common trait that they believe in the opportunity and liberty that America represents.  Perhaps the claim underlying these ideals is that a common language allows the immigrant the ability to acquire opportunity, liberty, freedom and happiness; but there is no historical precedent for this in the United States.

It is impossible to tell from these two texts what Hayakawa and Shumway know about the linguistic past of the country, but their presuppositions about language being the glue of our society betrays ignorance.  One can hardly make the case that before our current time, all immigrants came to the United States with a passion to learn English when settlements of immigrants often preserved their native language, such as the Germans in the north, the French in the south and the Mexicans in the west.  Nor can the claim be made that because an ethnic group either came to America already speaking English, or made the commitment to learn English, that they were respected, given equal opportunity, or even protected under our constitution.  One only needs to look to the Irish Catholic and the African-American.  Indeed, far too often in our past and present are minorities persecuted, whether they speak English or not.


With the historical context in mind, Hayakawa’s closing statement “[o]ne official language and one only, so that we can unite as a nation” (100) rings awfully hallow.

David Crystal in his book Language Death adds;

There are two intractable difficulties with [monolingualism as a unification tool].  The first is the naivety of the conception that sharing a single language is a guarantor of mutual understanding and peace, a world of new alliances and global solidarity.  The examples to the contrary are so numerous that it would be impracticable to list them.  Suffice it to say that all the major monolingual countries of the world have had their civil wars, and that as one reflects on the war-zones of the world in the last decades of the twentieth century, it is striking just how many of them are in countries which are predominately monolingual (Crystal 27).

If unification is what the United States is striving for, entrenching in monolingualism is by no measure the logical direction.

The Failure of Bilingual Education

Building off of unification by language, Hayakawa and Shumway move to the next major point, the failure of multiculturalism and multilingualism.  Both men point out some very real issues facing cultural minorities in the United States.  Hayakawa quotes Earl Byrd, noting that,

“Hispanics are the least educated minority in America” (Hayakawa 98). 

Shumway states:

“existing government policies are discriminatory, by keeping language minorities forever on the fringes of our society” (Shumway 123).  

It is foolish to believe these are not actual problems facing America today.  However, both writers over-extend these facts and blame multilingualism as the cause, most specifically, citing bilingual education.

As regards bilingual education, Hayakawa states, “[d]espite the ministrations of the Department of Education [in bilingual education], or perhaps because of them, Hispanic students to a shocking degree drop out of school, educated neither in Hispanic nor American language and culture” (Hayakawa 98; bold added).  This is a strong argument and one that must be taken seriously.  It is unfortunate that the Senator does not make his position more explicit or explain the causal relationship of bilingual education and the drop-out rate of Hispanic students that his advocating.

As it is, a simple look into the history of the education of minority groups reveals that bilingual education was proposed as a solution to the already high drop-out rate of hispanics.  Sandra del Valle, in her book Language Rights and the Law in the United States, writes,

“Interest in bilingual education was not serendipitous; the educational plight of many Latino schoolchildren was increasingly visible during the early and mid 1960s.  The drop-out rate for Latinos, Chicanos and Puerto Ricans was often the highest amongst all ethnic groups.”  She continues, “both Puerto Ricans and Chicanos had seen their native languages ridiculed and suppressed either through the outright punishment of children for speaking Spanish or by legislation changing the national language of Puerto Rico to English.  The educational fall-out of these policies were not surprising: Latino students left school in droves, alienated, uneducated and isolated in their own countries” (Valle 225; italics added).

If there is a casual relationship between language policy and the academic drop-out rate of Hispanic schoolchildren, clearly it is that Official English is a detriment to successful education of linguistic minorities.


Hayakawa and Shumway’s argument may stand still, if a causal relationship can be linked to minority group drop-out rates, and the current practice of Bilingual education.  However, this is a near impossible task.  Mostly because, while we give it one name, bilingual education is really a cover title for many different approaches to the education of linguistic minorities and majorities.  Not all of which share the same goals, practices or educational theories.

The history of bilingual education is not altogether a success story.  Indeed, much of the learning process over the years has been in the implementation of theories and practices that do not work.  In 1968, Congress passed sweeping legislation for bilingual education, opening up resources to this very new way of teaching.  The theory at the time driving this new legislation was that cultural minorities were “deprived”.  This was based upon research into the developmental process of infants, which considered intellectual and visual stimulation critical.  Children not given the appropriate stimulation were considered deprived.  On this, del Valle notes:

“The idea of social or cognitive deprivation found a footing in the politics of culture … the concept of ‘cultural deprivation’ grew with its implicit condemnation of the ‘culture’ of Latinos and blacks.  For, it was the divergent and, therefore, deprived culture of these children that was leading them to educational failure” (Valle 227).

With this in mind, Shumway’s comments that, originally, the bilingual educational theory, “was a good one” (123: emphasis added) is disconcerting.  It was a start, but a crude one from which we have learned much.  To suppose it is something we should try to reclaim is to take a step backwards.

It is insufficient to describe all the various methodologies under the single title, “bilingual education”.  So many different approaches are developed, that to lump them all together is descriptively unsatisfactory.  Shumway believes that the transitional method, in which the goal is to transition the child to education in the majority language as soon as he/she exhibits  somewhat proficiency, is the ideal way (123). However current research, in the United States, has shown that late-exit immersion programs are the most successful.  J. David Ramirez who conducted the research in 1991 in behalf of the Department of Education found that,

“students who were provided with a substantial and consistent primary language development program learned mathematics, English language reading skills as fast or faster than the norming population” (del Valle 223).

This, in comparison to Shumway’s remarks that, “[i]n many cases, however, bilingual education may be counterproductive by fostering continued reliance on the student’s native language” (Shumway 123).  Giving the Representative the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he is speaking about other bilingual programs, and not the late-exit immersion programs.  But of all the programs, excluding language maintenance programs, late-exit immersion keeps the native language as the primary language of education the longest, which seems to be what Shumway is claiming to be the main detriment.  Clearly current research shows that this is not the case.

The research findings of Ramirez also have implications for the drop-out claim that Hayakawa has presented.  If, as representatives of their constituents, these politicians are looking out for the well-being of their minority groups, let them give heed to the conclusions of Ramirez; “their [late-exit immersion students] growth in these academic skills; atypical of discouraged youth … provides support for the efficiency of providing language development in facilitating the acquisition of English language skills” (qtd in del Valle 223).  If the drop-out rate of any group is to decrease, a good place to start is to eradicate the feelings of alienation and discouragement that exist; late-exit immersion programs have a primary role in that.

Many other things have been said by Hayakawa and Shumway, but their argument, in these specific essays, lives or dies on the implication that unification of the nation is brought by linguistic means and that bilingualism is a failure, using the educational domain as the primary example.  If these claims have any validity, they do not rest on the arguments Hayakawa and Shumway themselves espouse.


Crawford, James, ed. 1992.  Language loyalties: a source book on the official English controversy.  Chicago; University of Chicago.

Crystal, David.  2000.  Language Death.  United Kingdom: Cambridge.

Hayakawa, S. I.  1992.  “The Case for Official English.”  Crawford 94-100.

Nunberg, Geoffrey.  1992.  “The Official English Movement: Reimagining America”.  Crawford.

Shumway, Norman.  1992.  “Preserve the Primacy of English.” Crawford 121-4.

Valle, Sandra Del.  2003.  Language Rights and the Law in the United States.  New York:     Multilingual Matters.  Print.

Language and Authority: Why languages disappear

Language and Authority – part 1

We began this discussion on the broad topics of defining language and we found it more difficult than perhaps popularly believed.  This time, we will discuss the trend of language decline in the world and why it is not simply a matter of natural language death, but directly tied to our policies and attitudes towards language, culture and other humans.

“…we must do some serious rethinking of our priorities, lest linguistics go down in history as the only science that presided obliviously over the disappearance of 90% of the very field to which it is dedicated” – Michael Krauss, Journal of Language, 1992

Endangered languages represent a limited and expiring supply of potential research possibilities not just for the field of Linguistics, but all the cognitive sciences.  To a linguist, however, the disappearance of many of the world’s languages is particularly disheartening.  To the outside world, however, disappearing languages is not only not cause for concern, but many view it as a net positive. We will take a look at the issue of disappearing languages and why linguists are concerned.

To any linguist,The most concerning issue is that evidence suggests that somewhere around fifty percent of the languages spoken now, will no longer be spoken by anyone in the world within this century (Crystal 2000).  To a linguist, this means that if these languages go without thorough documentation, we will never know, to the extent those languages provide, the full range of human language.  We will be ignorant, but what’s worse, we will not be, as linguist Ken Hale describes it, “blissfully ignorant” (1998:194) because we will have watched it occur.  There are probably hundreds of thousands of languages that have come and gone in the history of humanity– of those languages we will never know what we are missing.  Of those, our ignorance is less jarring.


But even a language that has been documented (meaning, a grammar has been scientifically defined and explained; a working dictionary has been created; and a body of cultural texts based on oral history published), there remains many areas of scientific study that are impoverished without an actual living community of speakers.  The sociolinguist, the second-language-acquisition specialist, among many others.

The Real Problem

This line of thinking, however, misses the larger problem.  Science for the sake of science is not the answer.  The world opporates on a much broader level than simply “knowledge”.  Where linguists have failed (in the past, we are much wiser today) is in underestimating the role politics and authority play in deciding the direction of science.

Nora England in Language:

“Many of us have been used to thinking that our work is pure science-that the most compelling reasons for doing linguistics are to know how specific languages work and what language is. The widely accepted Western idea that knowledge in and of itself is valuable for society is often the only justification we need to do what we do.” (30)

Later, quoting a Mayan leader, Cojti Cuxil:

‘It is difficult, above all in Guatemala, where Ladino colonialism reigns and where the very Political Constitution assigns informal functions to Mayan languages, for linguists to define themselves as neutral or apolitical, since they work on languages that are sentenced to death and officially demoted. In this country, the linguist who works on Mayan languages only has two options: either active complicity in the prevailing colonialism and linguistic assimilationism, or activism in favor of a new linguistic order in which equality in the rights of all the language is made concrete, something that also implies equal rights for the nationalities and communities.” (England, 31).

Some point out (rightfully so) that language decline and death is natural and has happened regularly over the course of history.  Latin is the most popular example.  A once powerful language that commanded the world but eventually died out.  No one laments the death of Latin.

Nor should they.  The death of Latin is sad, but its end had more to do with diaspora and the spreading of Latin to the world than anything else.  We can see this is true, because while Latin is dead; French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanch, Italian and many, many other languages are still living a robust life. All are the children of Latin and were once considered “vulgar” forms of Latin.

There is a very important, and absolutely critical, difference between the death of Latin and the imminent death of many languages in the world today.

Here it is.  The great secret truth that everyone knows. Many languages and cultures die because people in power-positions decide it should be so.  Very little more needs to be said to convince the scientific world that languages need to be preserved.  Convincing the general public and governments poses a much grander task for linguists and minorities.  Starting with possibly the greatest concern, that language loss appears in many cases to be caused largely by discrimination and genocide.  Consider Leanne Hinton:

“Before there was a United States of America, Europeans and Native Americans had already had close to 200 years of contact, much of it hostile, with great harm to the natives.  War, slavery, massacre and removal were the main order of the times.  The linguistic symptoms of this harm included the demise of many languages.  On language maps of North America depicting Native American languages, part of the southeast has a giant blank spot, where languages disappeared so quickly and completely that nothing at all is known about them” (Hinton 2001:40, italics added).

map.usaThe loss of these languages before linguists could document them is lamentable.  However, it is to an even greater extent, incomparably horrifying what this “giant blank spot” represents in terms of lives lost and cultures destroyed.

Lets take a moment to think about this.

The Cause

Government policy may still effect endangered languages without such extremes as the genocide of the Native Americans.  Krauss was very generous when he said, “Governments generally favor one language over another” (1992:4).  And the reasons for favoring one language usually rest in identity.  As was mentioned in part one, When establishing the then new United States of America, the American hero, Noah Webster was quoted as saying, “Culture, habits and language, as well as government should be national.  America should have her own distinct from the rest of the world…” (Nunberg 1999).  It is easy to see who is part of any particular culture, when that culture is defined by a certain usage of a certain language.  This allows for ideas like nationalism, unity and linguistic pride to flourish. (Much more to be said on this subject specifically, in part 3).

More often than not, this national pride swells up in a multicultural area.  Nationalism is chiefly concerned with conformity to a specific set of tenets and cultural mores from the dominant culture.  This conformity comes at the expense of the minority cultures.  This is and should be a major concern to linguists and the world.  When people lose pride in their culture, heritage and language, the most common action is to abandon them.  At this point, it no longer requires an authority to actively enforce the language shift (though as we have developed, the government policies and ideals of the majority group are always playing a part).  Colette Craig says that one of the major victories in her efforts to revitalize Rama, spoken in Nicaragua, was:

“the new awareness of the value of the language… this awareness can be articulated by some of the last speakers, as well as teachers, leaders, and community members-that the language is a ‘good’ language, that it has enough words for a dictionary, that it can be written, that it can be learned, that it has rules of grammar” (Craig 1992:23).

Again, let’s stop and think about that.  What if someone said to you, “Oh English? you mean that incoherent babble of bastardized German and French? that’s not a language.”  Surely you would scoff, and point them to the largest collection of literature in the history of the world as exhibit A.  Minority languages don’t have the benefit of a large corpus of written language, keyboards may not adequately represent their language on the internet and the rich people of the world explain that this is what a language is.  Its ability to be written down.

This logic is  circular and begs the question.  All languages begin as spoken languages and then develop written forms.  To suggest that a language isn’t a language if it isn’t written is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of language.  But I suppose that is the point.  The majority of people in authority either knowingly or ignorantly misunderstand what language is.

The fact that Rama has rules of grammar, that it has words that can go into a dictionary should be taken as granted, based solely on the fact that it is a natural language, but it wasn’t.   This is because the real problem isn’t with a language, the problem the authorities have is with the people. The language is simply a shibboleth that identifies the targeted minority.  The rhetoric against a language can be internalized by even the minority groups, and eventually everyone just knows that language X isn’t a real language; not like language Y, obviously.

The Solution

In opposition to the nationalistic oppression many minority language communities face, the linguist can help legitimize a language, by giving it the things the world says constitutes a “real” language.  They can write dictionaries, publish books and write programming codes and develop computer technology that embraces these cultures.  Giving them a place on the world stage of the internet.

mayanBut if the Mayans, the Rama, the Hawaiians, the Welsh, the Navajo, and many others teach us anything; it is that, in the end,  the real decision to revitalize a language or not lies entirely in the wants and wishes of the speech community.  No matter how interested a linguist is in revitalization, the evidence suggests that the plan will fail if the community is not behind the push (Ash 2001).  Not until the people decide to make it their own, does a revitalization project work.

What can be said of these arguments in their current form, is that humanity is doing something very drastic to affect the world’s languages.  And for a large part, humanity is quite passive about it.  People are much more likely to get active for causes involving ecology, genocide, healthcare and civil rights, than they are about languages alone.  If linguists want to continue the progression of linguistic research as it is now following, they have great incentive to enter the marketplace of ideas and start changing global (by changing the local) perspectives on language through forms of persuasion, on top of rigorous debate of what our arguments are for persevering endangered languages.


Ash, Anna et al.  2001.  “Diversity in Local Language Maintenance and Restoration: A Reason For Optimism”.  Hinton 19-39.  Print. 1 Sept 2010.

Cameron, Deborah. 1995.  Verbal Hygiene.  Routledge, New York.

Craig, Collette, 1992.  “A constitutional response to language endangerment: The case of Nicaragua”. Language, 68:1.  1992.

Crystal, David., 2000.  Language Death.  Cambridge Press, United Kingdom.  2000.

Dorian, Nancy C. 1993.  “A Response to Ladefoged’s Other View of Endangered Languages.”  Language, 69:3, 575-579.

England, Nora C., 1992.  “Doing Mayan Linguistics in Guatemala.”  Language, 68:1.  1992.

Fishmen, Joshua A., 1991.  “Reversing Language Shift: theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages”.  Multilingual Matters, Pennsylvania. 1991.

Grenoble, Lenore A., Linsdsay J. Wahley, Ed. 1998. Endangered Languages: Current issues and Future Prospects.  Cambridge Press, United Kingdom.

—,—. 1998. Toward a typology of language endangerment. Grenoble 22-55.

Hale, Ken, 1992.  “Endangered Languages”.  Language, 68:1.  1992.

—,—, 1998.  “On endangered languages and the importance of linguistic diversity”.  Grenoble 192-217.

Hinton, Leanne and Ken Hale, ed.  2001.  The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice.  Academic Press, California.

Hinton, Leanne, 2001.  “Federal Language Policy and Indigenous Languages in the United States”.  Hinton 39-45.

Krauss, Michael, 1992. “The World’s Languages in Crisis”.  Language, 68:1.  1992.

Nunberg, Geoffrey. 1999 The persistence of English. Norton Anthology of  English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, 7th edition, 1999.

Whalen, D.H., 2004.  “How the study of endangered languages will revolutionize linguistics”.  Linguistics Today – Facing a Greater Challenge.  Ed. Piet van Sterkenburg.  Johns  Bejamins, Philadelphia, 2004.

Authority in Language: Definitions

—   I have made note over the past few posts a desire to attempt to write on the idea of “Authority” in language.  This essay, and the one or two that will follow, will be that attempt.

Language vs. Dialect

It is indicative of complexity, that in the science of Linguistics  the terms “language” and “dialect” are rarely definable in a categorical way.  Linguists use many other classifications and examples to clarify just what exactly they mean when speaking in terms of either.  We speak of varieties, of codes, of families, of continuums, and perhaps these terms do clarify a little better what we mean when we talk of Language.  Some linguists make use of metaphor to help, like the phrase, often attributed to Einar Haugen that, “a dialect is a language that did not succeed”.  Phrases like this may be unnecessarily vague, but they may also be consciousness-raisers, making us consider, perhaps in new ways, just what exactly the speaker meant.

There is a very real social stigma against the use of the term “dialect” to describe any so-call “standard language”.  As Haugen points out,

“Americans are generally resentful of being told they speak ‘American dialect’” (Haugen, Studies, 498).

Such a statement could easily be said of any speakers of any dialect of English, but it most adequately applies to Standard Languages who do not view themselves as dialects at all, as is the case with American and British English.  Currently there is a similar dynamic occurring between American and Australian English, where the former is viewed as an encroaching enemy, with its influence being called, “Americanisms” (Burridge).  Regardless of how many words and phrases have already been borrowed from American English, any attempt now that is recognized as such, is unanimously denounced from the educated to the uneducated; the upper to lower classes.

Importance of Nationalism

While it may not be popular to say so socially or politically, every Standard Language has its beginnings as a competing dialect amongst many others. Consciously-aware or not, when the speakers feel they need a standard, all dialects are initially viable candidates  but only one is going to push its way to the front.  Many factors come together to decide which dialect will be elevated to the standard.  Usually, it is the dialect of the powerful; this can mean political, social, economic, or possibly all three.  Most usually, the dialect that is chosen is the one with a “long tradition of writing and grammatical study” (Haugen, Studies, 503).  Written languages have a prestige, perhaps because it engages the other senses, like sight, that purely oral languages seem to lack.  Thus, the community symbol of the rising standard language is often the grammar; and the community hero, the grammarian or group of grammarians, that are viewed as authorities.  For example, Samuel Johnson and his English dictionary of 1755.  And when the patriots of America wanted to show their separateness, it was Noah Webster who wrote a new dictionary, saying,

“Culture, habits and language, as well as government should be national.  America should have her own distinct from the rest of the world…” (qtd in Nunberg).

And it was Webster’s grammar that became a symbol of Americanism and Noah Webster himself as an American hero.

This nationalism is an aspect of humanity that extends far beyond the scope of language, but language does inhabit a crucial part.  In Haugen’s book, Language Conflict and Language Planning, he describes the feelings of the Norwegians when they began the process of renaming cities from Danish to Norwegian after they separated politically:

“Norwegians got a real sense of regaining their own country by bringing the distorted spellings of the Danish period back into line with local pronunciation and native linguistic history” (108).

In this instance, Norwegian, which is by many definitions still a dialect of Danish, was a dialect that “succeeded” after many years of failure.  The pushing force behind its rise from mere dialect to prestigious language was nationalism and the view by the speakers themselves that they were and are different.

Politics; not Linguistics

Another oft-quoted apocryphal statement of Linguistics, “A language is a dialect with an army and a navy” highlights the important difference.  In the time leading up to Norway’s independence, they had been under the rule of Denmark and as linguists observe often, the speakers of the dominating or encroaching language view the speakers of the conquered area as not really all that different; that in reality, they are just dialects of the same language and should be one people.  The conquered often see things very differently and want to up-play just how different their language is.  (Almost exactly the case of Cantonese and Mandarin).  In the case of Norwegian and Danish, the differences may be very small but they mean the world to the respective peoples.    Whether or not Norwegian is factually a dialect of Danish, to the Norwegians, is not important.  What held Norwegian as a dialect of Danish for so long is not a linguistic question, but political.  Denmark had the army and the navy to prove that Norwegian was a dialect and up until the turn of the 20th century, they continued to have that power.

22235011French is another example of political and linguistic power.  The French continue, to this day, to be antagonists of dialects in their geographical region, such as Breton and Provençal, among others.  The beginnings of their proactive condemnation go certainly to the French revolution and perhaps before.  “It is characteristic that the French revolutionaries passed a resolution condemning the dialects as a remnant of feudal society” (Haugen, Studies, 502).  Anything that could be tied with the old government, could be brought down, and when the revolutionaries army and navy proved stronger than the monarchy’s, the resolution took a solid place in French policy and culture.  To be French is to speak French, and only French.

These political stresses, as well as social stresses, create a distinction between linguistic have’s and have not’s.  A standard dialect is a dialect that has progressed and acquired domains, most usually in writing, of prose and science, but also politically and economically.  This creates classes of developed and underdeveloped dialects.  With the developed dialect having the most domains of use, while the underdeveloped dialects lacking in certain domains.  In order for the underdeveloped to overcome this and become relevant  the end goal seems to become relevant in the domains of science and politics (Haugen, Studies, 504).  Such a change may at first seem almost impossible, but over time, underdeveloped dialects have in the past, overcome their low status.  Examples such as Prakrit replacing Sanskrit and Latin yielding to the various romance languages give hope to the speakers of marginalized dialects (Haugen, Studies, 505).

But this change is much more subtle and slower, it may even be unnoticeable.   It is often said that there is no one place in history where one can say the transition from Latin to the Romance languages occurred, but it did happen.  What we need to focus on are the rights of speakers of minority dialects. Even in the case of Latin,  it eventually relinquished its hold on the domains of power.  And with the change, we can see that perhaps the statement, “a dialect is a language which didn’t succeed”, needs the addition of, “yet” to be complete.

Works Cited

Burriage, Kate. Linguistic cleanliness is next to godliness: Taboo and purism. English Today,  26 (2):3–13, June 2010.

Haugen, Einar.  Language Conflict and Language Planning.  Harvard, 1966.  Massachusetts.     .

—.  Studies by Einar Haugen Presented on the occasion of his 65th birthday – April 19,     1971.      “Dialect, language, nation”.  Ed. Evelyn Firchow, et al.  Mouton, 1972.  The Netherlands.

Nunberg, Geoffrey. The persistence of English. In M. H. Abrams, editor, Norton     Anthology of     English Literature. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY, 7th edition, 1992.