Language Planning and Policy – Self-study Essay

From what I have seen, felt, and experienced during my first visit to one of the Gulf States I have learned a lot about culture, policy and language. The distinction between my home country: Saudi Arabia and the neighboring state ‘Qatar’ is noticeable in culture, customs, the use of language and policies, and this diversity made very curious. Qatar is an Arabic country where Arabic Islamic civilization is barely seen. Moreover, it is a modern, well developed and industrialized country, which resembles a Western civilization. In addition to the influence of Western culture and values, I have also noticed the increasing use of English in most of the governmental intersections. In this self-study, I will explain what I have explored and benefitted from this course’s readings. My aim is to explain what justifies the global spread of not only English language but also its associated culture and modernization.

First, I would like to start with the first picture that comes into mind when assessing the influence of globalization. As we can see, the three elements of globalization are; business, technology, and culture. Through these elements, the dominance of Western, especially American culture and the spread of the English language is the key medium of globalization. The globalization of business, technology, and culture has strengthened the hegemonic position of English by positively impacting factors such as attitude and nature of interaction (see Phillipson 1992). Therefore, this process which overtly and covertly planned by the Centre, implanted sort of modernization associated with the language of the Centre. Hence, globalization is perceived as a project of ‘westernization’ or more specifically ‘Americanization’ of the world. As a result, this has an influence on the different contexts of ideology, which – according to Rudby (year) – has also ultimately shaped language planning and policies.

In the second picture I envisage how globalization helped the dominated countries reach their neoimperial goals. Qatar’s system is becoming increasingly dependent upon the Centre ‘U.S.’ in many aspects; development, economy, security, political, technology and so forth. This dependency and modernism have put the social life of Qatar at disadvantage. As Christine regarded Qatar as ‘melting pot’ for modernism and traditions, the second picture visualizes the social life of Qatar. The guy with the suit represents the new generation welcoming and supporting the western modernization where the lady represents the older generation favoring and trying to maintain their traditions.

As a conclusion, it is evident that globalization has serious implication on the world. It has served as a tool to abolish poverty in many countries but it has also created social issues and will generate further considerable problems and conflict between the new and old world in the future.

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