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English as a Tool of Neo-Colonialism and Globalization in Asian Contexts

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At the beginning of the 21st century, the English language has become the de facto lingua franca of the modern world. It is the most popular second or foreign language studied, such that now there are more people who have learned English as a second language and speak it with some competence than there are native English speakers. But why has English gained such prominence? And what effect does this have on the globalized world? In this paper I argue that the importance of English in many ways promotes a neo-colonialism and certainly abets the neoliberal ideals of encouraging a market economy. Examples are drawn from Cambodia, Malaysia and Hong Kong as well as from other Asian states.

Keywords: English; globalization; market economy; neo-colonialism; neo-liberal ideology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Western Ontario

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.

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