The linguistic uniformity of Europe (or the globe) is currently enforced not only by powerful economic and political forces but also by sociologists and social philosophers. At first, the learning of global English was only considered to be a necessary professional skill, then, the positive connotations of “plurilingualism” were evoked for fostering its universal adoption. Now, the acquisition of “globalese” is promoted as a means to achieve social justice. The rhetoric of justice immunises this discourse against any criticism (what can you say against justice?). Its political aims and measures are reminiscent of the aims and measures of the linguistic Jacobinism in the French Revolution. The propagandistic moves of the social sciences are accompanied by a polemic against linguistic diversity and the connection of language to culture. They are based on a reductive conception of language that underestimates their cognitive and, hence, cultural potential.
BourdieuPierreCe que parler veut dire: L’économie des échanges linguistiques1982ParisFayardFor English translation see: Bourdieu, Pierre. Language and Symbolic Power: the Economy of Linguistic Exchange. Cambridge, ma: Polity, 1991
GauckJoachim“Europa: Vertrauen erneuern—Verbindlichkeit stärken.”Speech held by President Joachim Gauck on the Perspectives of European Ideas, on February 22, 2013, in the presidential residence Schloss Bellvue. http://www.bundespraesident.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Reden/2013/02/130222-Europa.pdf?__blob=publicationFile
OrbanLeonard“Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment.”Communication of the Multilingualism Commissioner, 18 September 2008. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-08-1340_en.htm?locale=e
Pierre Bourdieu, Ce que parler veut dire: L’économie des échanges linguistiques (Paris: Fayard, 1982). For an English translation, see: Pierre Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power: the Economy of Linguistic Exchange (Cambridge, ma: Polity, 1991).