English in Carthage; or, the 'Tenth Crusade'

Mongi Bahloul (University of Sfax, Tunisia)

[Text of complete essay]

The proposed paper is a socio-linguistic attempt to investigate the relationship between globalization and English with specific reference to Tunisia. It firstly examines the salient features of globalization in terms of the colossal development of information technologies and the strong tendency in this part of Africa for a wild market economy. Then a critical appraisal of the role of English as globalization agent will be presented. Its intrusion in the Carthaginian 'dust' will be seen as adding more complexities to the already complex linguistic landscape and fuelling the existing controversies about foreign languages and their catalyst role to set off culturally-loaded ideologies. The paper argues that in a Tunisian setting English as a global language can be used to bring the world home, thus creating more ample opportunities for intercultural communication, exchange and interaction. Similarly, it can be used to revamp local cultures and various forms of expression by empowering them to transcend national borders. Finally, the paper will address the educational ramifications of globalization and call for an integrated strategy to link the study of English and other foreign tongues to the needs and interests of the Tunisian nation with the ultimate goal of minimizing their impact on local cultural identities and languages.

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001