The aim of this paper is to reflect on two opposite ways of considering the spread of the English language worldwide: a) English favours international understanding and grants equal opportunities for success, freedom and self-determination to underdeveloped populations. b) The use of the languages of the dominant countries becomes a precondition for linguistic imperialism, affecting the dominated countries at all levels. In order to analyse these two tenets, I will focus attention on what is implied by three different definitions used to refer to English today, namely: 1. English as a Global Language (EGL) 2. English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) 3. English as an International Language (EIL). These expressions are not fully synonyms, as they can assume shades of meaning according to their implicit reference either to either a) or b) detailed above. To conclude, I will consider some of the controversial implications in teaching English as an International Language, that is in teaching a variety of English that is progressively acquiring certain distinctive features that mark the difference between the Englishes spoken in core English speaking countries and the novel varieties spoken in the rest of the world.
Grazzi, E. (2008). Which English? Whose English?. In C.M. MASSIMO ARCANGELI (a cura di), Lingue e Culture fra Identità e Potere (pp. 551-561). Formello (RM) : Bonacci editore.