Juliane House

Hamburg University and Hellenic American University

English as a Global Language:  A Threat to Multilingualism, Intercultural Communication and Translation?




In this lecture I look at the controversy surrounding the current status of the English language in the world.  I first discuss the nature of English as a global language and English as a lingua franca (ELF).  I then deal with the crucial question of whether the dominant role of English today is to be seen as a menace to other languages, multilingualism, intercultural communication and the profession of translation and interpreting, or whether one may be justified in positively evaluating the omnipresence  of English as a convenient default means of communication. In answering this question, I argue for a compromise position: neither bedevilling global English nor naively and uncritically welcoming its benefits as a readily available tool enabling communication across the world. I support this stance from a number of different perspectives: socio-political, linguistic, psycholinguistic, pedagogic.



Juliane House received her PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Toronto, Canada and Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Jyväskylä, and Jaume I, Castellon. She is Professor Emerita, Hamburg University, and Distinguished University Professor at Hellenic American University, Athens, as well as Past President of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS). Her research interests include contrastive pragmatics, discourse analysis, politeness, English as a lingua franca, translation and intercultural studies. She has published widely in all these areas.