If You Write Back, Do It in English


During the entire European colonial era, the colonisers were able to impose their language/s to the subalterns due to political, economic and social superiority of the Centre/s over their colonial Peripheries. Moreover, in certain aspects, the Centres have managed to maintain that dominant position in some of the former colonies even after they gained independence, at least regarding the use of the coloniser's language. Notwithstanding the national and political factors, not to mention the logical choice of an indigenous language, many postcolonial states have chosen to retain a European language as the formally recognised one, and to keep it as the major medium of instruction, from primary to higher education, till this very day. Thus, for instance, though numerous local languages are spoken in India (over 1,600) and Pakistan, English is one of only two official languages there, in addition to Hindi in India, and Urdu in Pakistan. A similar situation is found in Sri Lanka, where the two official languages are Sinhalese and Tamil, but English also plays an important role as the Constitutionally recognised link language. Besides education, English is mostly used in science, economy and commerce in these countries, with the explanation that it helps position them globally. The authors of this paper will endeavour to analyse the reasons for and against future education in the coloniser's language, within the framework of post-colonial theory reflected in the famous book The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures, and some other seminal works.

Author Information
Ljiljana Markovic, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Biljana Djoric Francuski, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2016
Stream: Education and post-colonialism

This paper is part of the ACE2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon