Most people modify their ways of speaking, writing, texting, and e-mailing, and so on, according to the people with whom they are communicating. This fascinating book asks why we 'accommodate' to others in this way, and explores the various social consequences arising from it.
Review of The Handbook of Language and Globalization
AUTHOR: Nikolas Coupland TITLE: The Handbook of Language and Globalization PUBLISHER: Wiley-Blackwell YEAR: 2010
Şeyda D. Tarım, Department of Education, Muğla University, Turkey
Nikolas Coupland, in his introduction to “The Handbook of Language and Globalization,” states that “globalization theory is ... more convincing when it is more nuanced, more cautious, and more contextually refined” (p. 5). Not only Coupland but also most of the authors in the volume hold in common the view of studying “the tensions between sameness and difference, between centripetal and centrifugal tendencies, and between consensus and fragmentation” (p. 5), while re-examining the notions of context, time and space.
Coupland organizes the book under four sections. Part 1, ‘Global Multilingualism, World Languages, and Language Systems’; Part 2, ‘Global Discourse in Key Domains and Genres’; Part 3, ‘Language, Values, and Markets under Globalization’; Part 4, ‘Language, Distance, and Identities’.
Under Part 1, ‘Global Multilingualism, World Languages, and Language Systems’, there are eight chapters. In the first chapter, by Salikoko S. Mufwene, ‘Globalization, Global English, and World English(es): Myths and Facts’, we see a historical review of globalization and the view of English as a global language concept. In his words, “English is not even the only language of the global economy, since manufacturers trade in different languages, making sure that they secure profitable markets everywhere they can” (p. 47). However, Mufwene’s views are in conflict with Abram de Swaan’s views who sees “English…[as] the hub of the World language system…” (p. 73) in his chapter titled ‘Language Systems’. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Phillipson, in the chapter titled ‘The Global Politics of Language: Markets, Maintenance, Marginalization, or Murder?’, answer questions like “Why are languages ‘disappearing’?” (p. 84), and discuss the role formal education plays in this linguistic dispossession. Ulric Ammon’s chapter ‘World Languages: Trends and Futures’, supported by images and data, holds the view that there are ‘World Languages’ other than English which also carry global and international meaning and gain much more importance across different countries or territories. Thomas Ricento, in his chapter, ‘Language Policy and Globalization’, focuses on questions like “Can (and should) countries protect their national linguistic resources, or should they ‘open their markets’ and promote languages such as English in order to enhance access to technology, trade and the like?” (p. 125) and considers the role of English in globalization. Skutnabb-Kangas & Phillipson and Ricento share close views on this issue. Jonathan Pool’s chapter, ‘Panlingual Globalization’, mainly discusses four strategies for creating more balanced linguistic diversity globally. Although the chapters so far mainly focus on English, in Clare Mar-Molinero’s chapter, ‘The Spread of Global Spanish: From Cervantes to reggaetón’, the spread of Spanish world-wide is discussed in detail by bringing up issues like ‘Latin music’, while Brigitta Busch’s chapter, ‘New National Languages in Eastern Europe’, tells us about the language policies in the former Yugoslavia.
Part 2 includes chapters which provide insightful examples and discussion of ‘Global Discourse in Key Domains and Genres’. In Jannis Androutsopoulos’ chapter, ‘Localizing the Global on the Participatory Web’, how the global discourse (key social domains) is localized is demonstrated through analyzing web 2.0 environments, while in Theo Van Leeuwen and Usama Suleiman’s chapter, ‘Globalizing the Local: The Case of an Egyptian Superhero Comic’, the attempts to ‘globalize’ an Egyptian superhero comic are discussed. Van Leeuwen and Suleiman indicate that local values are being recontextualized and recreated to be part of the globalized world. However, they are not always successful in trading these values with others. Moreover, in Adam Jaworski and Crispin Thurlow’s chapter, ‘Language and the Globalizing Habitus of Tourism: Toward A Sociolinguistics of Fleeting Relationships’, the data provided demonstrate that “language and other semiotic material are entextualized and recontextualized for touristic purposes” (p. 277) and “these discursive formations ... establish fleeting identities, relationships, and communities existing in the moment, working across national and ethnic boundaries.” (p. 281). The last chapters in this part, David Block’s chapter, ‘Globalization and Language Teaching’, Adam Hodges’ chapter, ‘Discursive Constructions of Global War and Terror’, and Annabelle Mooney’s chapter, ‘Has God Gone Global? Religion, Language and Globalization’, demonstrate the impact of globalization through the detailed analyses of discourse practices reproduced and recreated within the local context of particular societies.
Part 3, ‘Language, Values, and Markets under Globalization’ begins with Monica Heller’s chapter, ‘Language as Resource in the Globalized New Economy’, in which she discusses “the commodification of language in the globalized new economy” (p. 358) and critiques the notion of ‘language as system’. In Jan Blommaert and Jie Dong’s chapter, ‘Language and Movement in Space’, the authors hold the view that “the language is something trans-local: it moves along with people across space and time” (p. 382). These two chapter are followed by Barbara Johnstone’s chapter, ‘Indexing the Local’, Arran Stibbe’s chapter, ‘Ecolinguistics and Globalization’, and Shi-Xu’s chapter, ‘The Chinese Discourse of Human Rights and Glocalization’. Peter Garrett, in his chapter ‘Meanings of ‘Globalization’: East and West’, shows how in different discourse contexts, the concept of globalization is interpreted differently. He discusses how the people from different regions perceive globalization. This chapter clearly represents diverse thoughts and experiences over the meaning of globalization. Similarly, Helen Kelly-Holmes’ chapter, ‘Languages and Global Marketing’, demonstrates how university students from different parts of the world (Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, the UK and the USA) react to the notion of ‘globalization’. She discusses global marketing and the relation between language practices and marketing practices through examining the advertising theme “I’m lovin’ it” (Ives 2004).
In the final part, ‘Language, Distance, and Identities’, there are eight chapters closely analysing the relation between language and globalization, particularly focusing on the meaning of language, construction of social identities, and how globalization affects communication across cultures and distances. Claire Kramsch and Elizabeth Boner’s chapter, ‘Shadows of Discourse: Intercultural Communication in Global Contexts’, helps us to understand the notion of ‘discourse shadow’ in global contexts -- in which shadow is described as (in Ferguson’s 2006 words) “a kind of doubling, a copy of the original, like a parallel economy alongside the official one, or a private irregular army alongside the legitimate national army” (Ferguson 2006 cited in Kramsch and Boner 2010, p. 495). Departing from the research on intercultural communication, Kramsch and Boner’s chapter demonstrates how global society is shaped through selective discourse practices. Kramsch and Boner state that “many of the misunderstandings or disagreements between the participants in these exchanges were due to a disregard for the multiple shadows of words and their discourses in a global context of communication” (p. 513). Similar to Kramsch and Boner’s chapter, Rakesh M. Bhatt analyses data from post-colonial South and Southeast Asia and the parts of Anglophone Africa, to show the impact of globalization on the construction of post-colonial identities in his chapter ‘Unraveling Post-Colonial Identity through Language’. Ingrid Piller and Kimie Takahashi, in their chapter ‘At the Intersection of Gender, Language, and Transnationalism’, concentrate on gendered identities produced or reproduced in transnational contexts. As the previous chapters in this section, Piller and Takahashi’s chapter is also remarkably thought-provoking in terms of recognizing the key role of the language in which “gendered identities are produced and maintained in transnational contexts” (p. 540).
The final part continues with a collection of studies which contribute to reconsidering the close relationship between language, distance, and social identities; that is, how social identities gain meaning across cultures and are influenced by distance. This part begins with William Leap’s chapter, ‘Globalization and Gay Language’ in which he examines the language practices of non-heterosexual people. Leap demonstrates very rich examples from different countries, clearly presenting how gay language is constructed and indexed from a local perspective within a global context. John C. Maher focuses on the notion of ethnicity from the “explanatory concept of metroethnic and metrolinguistic style” (p. 577) in the chapter, ‘Metroethnicities and Metrolanguages’. Alastair Pennycook, in his chapter ‘Popular Cultures, Popular Languages, and Global Identities’ focuses on “the active construction of different possible worlds and identities” (p. 593) by exploring hip-hop as a part of popular culture, in which local and global languages are mixed. Pennycook’s study, as also the last chapter ‘Global Media and the Regime of Lifestyle’ by David Machin and Theo Van Leeuwen, draws attention to the point that we should consider a variety of new identities by examining the relation between language and globalization. Lilie Chouliaraki’s chapter, ‘Global Representations of Distant Suffering’, focuses on images of suffering produced by media and their representations that affect observers across the world.
The term ‘globalization’ is used in many different contexts, having plenty of meanings and interpretations. Globalization is increasing and this increase has larger impacts on language and social relations. This volume brings together diverse studies in the field of language and globalization and emphasizes various theoretical approaches displaying the interdisciplinary nature of current language and globalization research. As a comprehensive handbook, it provides research questions to facilitate readers’ thinking about language and globalization and to help gain an understanding and awareness of language and globalization issues in detail. Social actions, representations and discourse practices having to do with language diversity, connectedness and intercultural communication are essential in promoting the area of research for new ways of looking at situations within local contexts in a global word. It can be noted that the global and the local values should be seen as oppositional but mutually exclusive and one may play an important role in completing the other.
This book does an excellent job at providing rich examples of locally created or negotiated values and concepts which flow globally and gain new meanings and interpretations or vice-versa.
Overall, The Handbook of Language and Globalization succeeds in providing the reader with insightful analysis at the intersection of language and globalization. With its broad scope and inclusion of useful research topics, the volume can be considered as an open gate for a wider field of study and research in sociolinguistics. It also provides a stimulating and complex picture of the state of theory and practice in the area of language and globalization.
Ives, N. (2004) For McDonald’s, the “I’m lovin’ it” phrase of its new campaign has crossed over into the mainstream. New York Times, May 13, 2004. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/13/business/media-business-advertising-for-mcdonald-s-m-lovin-it-phrase-its-new-campaign-has.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Şeyda Deniz Tarım is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at
Muğla University, Turkey. She received her Ph.D. in Education with an
interdisciplinary research emphasis of Language, Interaction and Social
Organization (LISO) from Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the
University of California, Santa Barbara (2011). Her research interests
include bilingualism, language socialization, peer socialization in
children’s interactions, language and gender and qualitative methods in
Education. Recently, she is coordinating research focusing on children’s
peer interactions and their language practices at a university-based child