Times Higher EducationEnglish cannot be the only acceptable language of scholarship, says Toby Miller. It’s arrogant, impractical and anti-intellectual.
The signs are all there: the future domination of English as the major language of international diplomacy, business and education seems assured. Safely positioned in the top three internet languages and the top two Twitter languages, it is the preferred mode of communication for international airline pilots, corporate engineers, university physicists and medical researchers, inter alia.
In academia, English has long been the sine qua non for publishing in the sciences and medicine. The social sciences and humanities remain partial holdouts, perhaps because of the spread of the two other principal imperial languages, French and Spanish, the wealth of their sponsoring nations and the localism of their discourse. But even these areas are changing - for example, Latin American universities clearly favour work published in English over the languages of their own countries.
All this looks just fine and dandy for Anglos, doesn’t it? We can remain in our English shell, confident that anything worth translating will duly be brought before us. Read more...