The magic of ignorance - English a false prophet?

Moses Samuel mosess at
Mon Jan 24 07:32:14 UTC 2005

Anthea is right on target. And in Malaysia (and in many other countries in Kachru's 'outer circle' I guess) it looks like Phillipson's 'linguistic imperialism' auguments against English may not have widespread support.  Here,  many people would regard English working as a 'partner language' with Malay, the national language, not necessarily against it.

Moses Samuel
University of Malaya

On 24.01.2005 02:36:41, Anthea Fraser Gupta <A.F.Gupta at> wrote:

>Stan said,  "I wonder how much of this push for English comes from "an
>self-serving elite". Maybe the the intelligent, outward-looking masses
>pushing for English as well."
>Absolutely.  It's important to say  that probably everyone in Malaysia
>agrees that all schoolchildren should be taught English and Malay (the
>controversy is in the how). And a large proportion of the population of
>Malaysia already speaks very good English (and most of the rest speak a
>useful amount of English).  We are NOT looking at a place where English
>is known only by a tiny 'elite', but one where English is already known
>by the majority.
>Schools have to teach all sorts of stuff, some of which some of the
>learners will never use again (I personally have not done a
>differential equation since the age of 16). Education is about offering
>children opportunities and choices, not about limiting those
>opportunities. I say, keep on teaching differential equations and
>English and history and all sorts of other stuff too. However, in
>Malaysia, lots of people need English for all sorts of work and social
>reasons, because English is a Malaysia language, not a foreign one.


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