Call against world trend. English - the false Prophet

R. A. Stegemann moogoonghwa at
Sun Mar 27 18:36:31 UTC 2005

Dear list members,

Those who argue that universal English language (UEL) requirements are
part of a world trend behave like small investors during a stock market
boom.  Market pundits provide them with easy to understand explanations
about what is driving the market, and traders simply follow it up
looking for a quick buck. In the excitement few bother to look for what
will surely be the ruin of many, and those that know remain silent
waiting to cash in when the bottom drops out.

So, how have things come as far as they have?

Firstly, the most vulnerable members of society are being exploited --
children and their mothers. Children because they are unable to stand
up for what most view as sheer stupidity, and mothers who want the best
for their children, but are poorly informed about language learning and
education and the market forces that are driving national governments
to impose UEL requirements around the globe.

Secondly, popular opinion is riding the first wave of the new economy
and information age -- a phenomenon that impresses most with its new
gadgetry, but whose long term sociological affects are still poorly
understood. Technological brilliance, rather than good common sense,
are causing governments to heed the calls of global business people,
rather than their own citizenry. Everybody want to cash in.

Thirdly, there exists a real, but very distant dream, that the world
will one day be united under one language, one government, and one
race. Simply the world is not yet ready for this big moment, and few
have even bothered to think about how it could ever occur.

Fourthly, global businesses reign over the capital that national
governments require to develop their economies. In their eagerness to
attract these businesses to local markets, these governments are
seeking to create attractive work forces. National educational policies
that promote the English language are attractive calling cards. In
effect, these governments are catering to appearances, rather than true
business needs and sound economic policies.

Fifthly, the world political scene is dominated by the United States,
the world's current, largest economy and host to the world's most
powerful military. The world has yet to outgrow arcane notions of
empire building, and the neo-imperialists of our world are having a

Sixthly, those who are in the best position to send out the warning
calls, are the very same, who benefit most from the new wave -- the
world's best educated.

Truly, it is a sad moment for humanity, and by the time the world
finally wakes up most of the damage will have already passed under the


R. A. Stegemann
EARTH's Manager and HKLNA-Project Director
EARTH - East Asian Research and Translation in Hong Kong
Tel/Fax: 852 2630 0349

On 27 Mar 2005, at 22:41, Harold F. Schiffman wrote:

>> From the Fiji Times,  (Sunday, March 27, 2005)
> Call against world trend
> IT will take some time to integrate the Fijian and Hindi languages in
> learning institutions as modes of instructions, the Ministry of
> Education
> says. Ministry chief executive Alumita Taganesia made the comment
> after a
> call by the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam last Friday to make the two
> vernacular languages compulsory in schools.
> Mrs Taganesia said the use of vernacular language as the mode of
> instructions in schools and colleges "is going against international
> trends". She said most countries had used vernaculars in the past had
> reverted to English because their citizens could not adapt to most
> international standards of communication. "It will take a very long
> time
> in order for us to use the vernacular languages as the mode of
> instructions in schools," Mrs Taganesia said.
> Mrs Taganesia said the first 20 teachers especially trained to teach
> vernacular languages in schools had a lot against them. "Right now we
> have
> 600 primary schools and 157 secondary schools around the country and
> this
> is a big thing to make. It will take sometime before we can have the
> capacity to use vernacular in schools," Mrs Taganesia said.
> She said the Government did not have any official policy to endorse the
> move to have vernacular languages as languages of instruction. She said
> the issue could be addressed once her ministry had completed its
> language
> policy and when it reviewed the Education Act.
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