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Linguistic Imperialism

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Main Institutions

The US has two main institutions to expand its empire, the Defense Department and the State Department.

Most of the entries in this Wiki deal with the State Department. It is obvious that the Defense Department is the first instituion to go in and conquer a country, but it is less obvious what the State Depaartment does to try to govern that country.

Often what the military does (the Defense Department) is called "hard power" and public diplomacy (what the State Department) does is called "soft power." However, within the Defense Department and the State Department are English language training programs. For the Defense Department they take the form of the Military Language Insitute and its other training schools for foreign military officers. Other Defense Department institutions include:

  • Monterey Language Institute
  • Defense Language Institute Board of Visitors
  • School of the Americas
  • Overseas military bases and schools
  • Troops to Teachers Program

For the State Department, it mainly comes in the form of Fullbright Scholars who are brought to universities in the US on Fullbright Scholarships witht their expenses all paid for. Other State Department institutions include:

  • United States Information Agency
  • America Embassies
  • Regional English Language Officers
  • English Language Specialists
  • English Language Forum Magazine
  • Education and Culture Bureau (the E Bureau)

Third Party Institutions

The US differed from Britain in promoting its empire by relying more heavily on third parties to expand its hegemony. Therefore, third parties are often headed by former State Department and Defense Department managers. For example, James Alatis used to work in the Defense Department and the Education Department before he became head of the linguistics department at Georgetown University and the head of TESOL Inc.

Also, the former head of the USIA, Joseph Duffey, then became the president of Maryland University and board member of Sylvan Learning.

There is a revolving door between government and third party institutions. Many TESOL/applied linguistics university professors are also on the State Department payroll.

Some third party instutions for the State Department include:

Note that in American colonies such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan it is illegal or near impossible to establish a non-profit society as in North America. For example, only until 2004 in Japan did it legally become possible to establish a non-profit, and fewer than a couple dozen organizations that have tax deductile charity status. In Taiwan, it is illegal to volunteer for a non-profit.

Some third party institutions for the Defense Department include:

  • Blackwell

The Iraq War has seen a increase in a number of businesses such as Blackwell which provide mercenaries for combat and security operations.

American Imperialism in Iraq

The typical third parties to establish themselves in an American occupied colony are a TESOL affiliate, an American University affiliate and an English language newspaper.

The employees of these organizations are used to gather intelligence on academics who may be relied upon to be allies of the occupation.

The Labor Culture of Imperialism

The government institutions that promote American imperialism are run by unionized federal employees. Even the Voice of America employees, who expound the propaganda of Amercian trade policy of free markets and privatization, are ironically unionized and fighting against the outsourcing of their work to private companies.

However, many of these government workers see third party workers, particularly private language school instructors, as beneath them. They see them as just perverts, misfits or backpackers etc... They do not deserve any respect let alone equivalent work conditions with job security and a union. They are not addressed as workers or migrant workers. They work at McJobs. While they may do the majority of the work in teaching new people of the empire the English language, their work conditions are terribel with often being cheated of health insurance, pay and other benefits.

One would think that since the US claims that it is spreading democracy and the rule of law in its empire that it would encourage unionization and the protection of worker rights; however, union organizers are usually the first people to be killed off as American free markets expand into a country (see Chomsky's 9/11).

But even after 50 years in Japan, the rule of law has not been established and the teachers union has been destroyed by violent attacks from right-wing forces.

Further, the American embassies do not care about the labor rights of Americans teaching abroad. Their interest is first with the corporate rights of the members of the Chamber of Commerce (e.g., McDonald's, Nike and Coca-Cola) and never with foreign teacher labor rights even though many embassy employees may be unionized! After this all happen an atomic bomb will land somewhere in Irag sure and then W.W 3 will start which is gonna kill 100millions of people

The Book

Was written by language planning expert Dr. Robert Phillipson in 1992.

This book explores the contemporary phenomenon of English as an international language, and sets out to analyse how and why the language has become so dominant. It looks at the spread of English historically, at the role it plays in Third World countries, and at the ideologies transmitted through the English language.

Reviews of the book say that it...

provides the first systematic examination of the enormous significance of language to most neo-colonial enterprises. (New Internationalist)

is an important, groundbreaking study of the political background and impact of the spread of English. (Journal of Pragmatics)

new edit after download of articles on March 5

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