The impact of macro socioeconomic trends on the future of the English language

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of English, Stockholm University

Abstract: This thesis by compilation consists of four books and articles published between 1997 and 2006, each dealing with issues related to the increasing use of English as a global language, together with an introductory chapter which reviews the literature relating to world Englishes and the Sociology of Language, and discusses the methodology employed in the research. The publications included are:(i) Graddol, D. (1997) The Future of English? London: British Council;(ii) Graddol, D. (1999) The decline of the native speaker, AILA Review 13: 69–78;(iii) Graddol, D. (2001) The future of English as a European language, European Messenger X:47–57;(iv) Graddol, D. (2006) English Next, London: British Council.These publications examine the rise of English as a global language and the role of major ‘macro’ socioeconomic trends which appear to be shaping the present and future of importance of English in the world. These trends include (i) economic trends related to the broad relationship between the global economy and the English language, such as the role of English in economic globalisation (ii) demographic trends, such as the rise of populations in Asia, increasing urbanisation, and the ageing populations of developed countries, which may not only explain a great deal about the changing shape of the global economy; and (iii) technological trends, especially improvement in communications, which may be seen to be the third main driver of social and linguistic change.All the publications make use of a computer model which brings together data from linguistic surveys, country-by-country economic data, and projections of demographic data, including the age profiles of national populations. The introductory chapter describes some of the methodological issues involved in using such macro socioeconomic data to help explain the changing role of English in the world and the changing status of its native speakers.

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