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versus maintaining the language’s oppressive weight and foreignness. In a related move, challenge assumptions about

which countries are “English-speaking countries” and which are not, and the hierarchies of peoples such classifications create. English may have originated in England, but it was forcefully spread around the world through colonialism and capitalism and is, today, an undeniably global language. It does not belong to

domination by their colonizers. “The most important thing about language is its capacity for generating imagined communities, building in effect particular solidarities,” writes Benedict Anderson, a noted theorist of the nation-state. “Nothing suggests that Ghanaian nationalism is any less real than Indonesian simply because its national language is English rather than Ashanti. It is always a mistake to treat languages in the way that certain nationalist ideologues treat them—as

England anymore. It does not even belong to the group commonly considered the English-speaking countries of the world (the UK, the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and occasionally—but only ever in the white context—South Africa). In fact, more than 50 countries list English as an official language. For some this is a strategic maneuver, but for others, English is widely used. In India, for example, it serves as a lingua franca, or a common language that connects speakers of the hundreds of different languages spoken in the country. Other places, like Guyana, are rarely included in the list of English-speaking countries despite the fact that Guyana has a higher percentage of English speakers than Canada. Of course, English in Guyana is, as with India,

a colonial leftover so it may seem strange to invoke these examples in a discussion of how English can be used to pursue social justice and challenge oppressive structures. However, English was as much a tool of resistance for those forced to learn it, as it was a tool for

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emblems of nation-ness, like flags, costumes, folk- dances and the rest.” At some point I stopped using the term “native

speaker,” I think it was after someone once inserted the word “Canadian” and I became a “native Canadian speaker,” which carries an altogether different meaning with altogether different problems. The term suggests an immutable hierarchy: native speakers, to whom English rightfully belongs, over non-native speakers, who are trapped in a never-ending inferior position since no matter how hard they study, they’ll never be native speakers. It is a difference-inscribing terminology imbued with racial distinctions, particularly when the young native speaker is a white Canadian. I wrote my Master’s thesis on the possibilities for

global citizenship curricula in ELT. One of my most interesting findings was how much room imported English teachers are given to decide what gets taught in the classroom. Even in the public system, where established curricula and prescribed textbooks already Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25