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Linguistic Injustice for the Sake of Greater Social Justice: A Response to Anna Kristina Hultgren

Author:

Philippe Van Parijs

University of Louvain, Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics, BE
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Abstract

In her lead piece, Hultgren challenges three common assumptions: (1) “Non-native speakers are disadvantaged by the spread of English”; (2) “English threatens other languages”; (3) “Language policy will curb the spread of English.” Under some extreme interpretation, each of them is indefensible, but I would be surprised if anyone held such interpretation. Under some other, more natural interpretation, each of them is close to self-evident. Consequently, I doubt that focusing on these assumptions is the most fruitful way of identifying the really controversial issues. However, I do agree with Hultgren that linguistic injustice is only one dimension of social injustice and one that is generally of secondary importance relative to more material dimensions. As a result, some degree of linguistic injustice—in particular what is inherent in the adoption of some natural language as a global lingual franca—is the price we need to pay for an effective pursuit of social justice in all its dimensions.
How to Cite: Van Parijs, P., 2020. Linguistic Injustice for the Sake of Greater Social Justice: A Response to Anna Kristina Hultgren. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 19(3), pp.175–178.
Published on 07 Oct 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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