SOAS University of London

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Language Policies and Practices Across Asia – Trends, Realities and Predictions.

Speaker: Andy Kirkpatrick (Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)

Date: 20 February 2019Time: 3:30 PM

Finishes: 20 February 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Faber Building, 23/24 Russell Square Room: FG01

Type of Event: Seminar


This presentation will identify the major trends that can be determined from an overall study of recent language policies across Asia, based on the contributions to the Routledge Handbook of Language Policy and Practice in Asia, to be published in late 2019. The trends can be seen across three interrelated themes, namely: the promotion and privileging of one language as the national language as part of an attempt to create a nation state, often in polities that are linguistically extremely diverse; a decrease in the promotion of indigenous languages other than the national language and the neglect of these in education in many countries; and the promotion of English as the first foreign language in education systems, often giving other ‘foreign’ languages a minimal role in education. The presenters will discuss possible reasons and motivations for these trends and illustrate countries where exceptions to these trends can be identified. The talk will critically evaluate selected language policies and conclude with predictions for the future linguistic ecology of the region and for the interrelationships of the respective national language, indigenous languages and English.


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Language Policies and Practices Across Asia – Trends, Realities and Predictions

About the speaker:

Andy Kirkpatrick is Professor in Linguistics in the Department of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has lived and worked in many countries in East and Southeast Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. His research interests include the development of new varieties of English in Asia and the roles of English as a lingua franca in the region, language education policy in Asia and Chinese Rhetoric. He is the author of World Englishes: Implications for ELT and International Communication (CUP) and English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN: a multilingual model (Hong Kong University Press). He is the editor of the Routledge Handbook of World Englishes. His most recent books are English as an Asian Language: implications for language education, co-edited with Roly Sussex and published by Springer, and Chinese Rhetoric and Writing, co-authored with Xu Zhichang and published by Parlor Press. He is founding and chief editor of the book series Multilingual Education, published by Springer.

His latest book, Multilingual Education in Hong Kong Primary Schools (co-author Wang Lixun) will be published by Springer in 2019.

He is currently co-editing two new handbooks namely, Asian Englishes (Wiley-Blackwell, with Kingsley Bolton as co-editor) and Language Education Policy in Asia (Routledge, with Tony Liddicoat as co-editor).

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