International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 5 Issue 1 (June 1995), Pages 3-150

English in Europe: whose language, which culture? (pages 21-32)

In the context of European integration, language and culture generally are discussed with reference to the individual languages and cultural identities of the European Community (EC) member states. Often implicit and explicit in these discussions is concern with the spread of English and the impact of American culture on the cultures of the EC. This paper approaches these issues from a broad sociolinguistic perspective. Rather than identify English solely with speakers from Great Britain or with artifacts of American culture, it is argued that English belongs to those who use it and therefore has the potential to be a means of expression of European identity. It is further suggested that these social and political issues are related to communicative competence and models of language, central concerns in the decisionmaking of English language teaching specialists in Europe.

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