LINGUIST List 23.4374

Thu Oct 18 2012

Review: Anthropological Ling; Applied Ling; Socioling; Coupland (2010)

Editor for this issue: Monica Macaulay <>

Date: 18-Oct-2012
From: Seyda Tarim <>
Subject: The Handbook of Language and Globalization
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Announced at
AUTHOR: Nikolas CouplandTITLE: The Handbook of Language and GlobalizationPUBLISHER: Wiley-BlackwellYEAR: 2010

Şeyda D. Tarım, Department of Education, Muğla University, Turkey


Nikolas Coupland, in his introduction to “The Handbook of Language andGlobalization,” states that “globalization theory is ... more convincing when itis more nuanced, more cautious, and more contextually refined” (p. 5). Not onlyCoupland but also most of the authors in the volume hold in common the view ofstudying “the tensions between sameness and difference, between centripetal andcentrifugal tendencies, and between consensus and fragmentation” (p. 5), whilere-examining the notions of context, time and space.


Coupland organizes the book under four sections. Part 1, ‘GlobalMultilingualism, World Languages, and Language Systems’; Part 2, ‘GlobalDiscourse in Key Domains and Genres’; Part 3, ‘Language, Values, and Marketsunder Globalization’; Part 4, ‘Language, Distance, and Identities’.

Under Part 1, ‘Global Multilingualism, World Languages, and Language Systems’,there are eight chapters. In the first chapter, by Salikoko S. Mufwene,‘Globalization, Global English, and World English(es): Myths and Facts’, we seea historical review of globalization and the view of English as a globallanguage concept. In his words, “English is not even the only language of theglobal economy, since manufacturers trade in different languages, making surethat they secure profitable markets everywhere they can” (p. 47). However,Mufwene’s views are in conflict with Abram de Swaan’s views who sees“English…[as] the hub of the World language system…” (p. 73) in his chaptertitled ‘Language Systems’. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Phillipson, in thechapter titled ‘The Global Politics of Language: Markets, Maintenance,Marginalization, or Murder?’, answer questions like “Why are languages‘disappearing’?” (p. 84), and discuss the role formal education plays in thislinguistic dispossession. Ulric Ammon’s chapter ‘World Languages: Trends andFutures’, supported by images and data, holds the view that there are ‘WorldLanguages’ other than English which also carry global and international meaningand gain much more importance across different countries or territories. ThomasRicento, in his chapter, ‘Language Policy and Globalization’, focuses onquestions like “Can (and should) countries protect their national linguisticresources, or should they ‘open their markets’ and promote languages such asEnglish in order to enhance access to technology, trade and the like?” (p. 125)and considers the role of English in globalization. Skutnabb-Kangas & Phillipsonand Ricento share close views on this issue. Jonathan Pool’s chapter,‘Panlingual Globalization’, mainly discusses four strategies for creating morebalanced linguistic diversity globally. Although the chapters so far mainlyfocus on English, in Clare Mar-Molinero’s chapter, ‘The Spread of GlobalSpanish: From Cervantes to reggaetón’, the spread of Spanish world-wide isdiscussed in detail by bringing up issues like ‘Latin music’, while BrigittaBusch’s chapter, ‘New National Languages in Eastern Europe’, tells us about thelanguage policies in the former Yugoslavia.

Part 2 includes chapters which provide insightful examples and discussion of‘Global Discourse in Key Domains and Genres’. In Jannis Androutsopoulos’chapter, ‘Localizing the Global on the Participatory Web’, how the globaldiscourse (key social domains) is localized is demonstrated through analyzingweb 2.0 environments, while in Theo Van Leeuwen and Usama Suleiman’s chapter,‘Globalizing the Local: The Case of an Egyptian Superhero Comic’, the attemptsto ‘globalize’ an Egyptian superhero comic are discussed. Van Leeuwen andSuleiman indicate that local values are being recontextualized and recreated tobe part of the globalized world. However, they are not always successful intrading these values with others. Moreover, in Adam Jaworski and CrispinThurlow’s chapter, ‘Language and the Globalizing Habitus of Tourism: Toward ASociolinguistics of Fleeting Relationships’, the data provided demonstrate that“language and other semiotic material are entextualized and recontextualized fortouristic purposes” (p. 277) and “these discursive formations ... establishfleeting identities, relationships, and communities existing in the moment,working across national and ethnic boundaries.” (p. 281). The last chapters inthis part, David Block’s chapter, ‘Globalization and Language Teaching’, AdamHodges’ chapter, ‘Discursive Constructions of Global War and Terror’, andAnnabelle Mooney’s chapter, ‘Has God Gone Global? Religion, Language andGlobalization’, demonstrate the impact of globalization through the detailedanalyses of discourse practices reproduced and recreated within the localcontext of particular societies.

Part 3, ‘Language, Values, and Markets under Globalization’ begins with MonicaHeller’s chapter, ‘Language as Resource in the Globalized New Economy’, in whichshe discusses “the commodification of language in the globalized new economy”(p. 358) and critiques the notion of ‘language as system’. In Jan Blommaert andJie Dong’s chapter, ‘Language and Movement in Space’, the authors hold the viewthat “the language is something trans-local: it moves along with people acrossspace and time” (p. 382). These two chapter are followed by Barbara Johnstone’schapter, ‘Indexing the Local’, Arran Stibbe’s chapter, ‘Ecolinguistics andGlobalization’, and Shi-Xu’s chapter, ‘The Chinese Discourse of Human Rights andGlocalization’. Peter Garrett, in his chapter ‘Meanings of ‘Globalization’: Eastand West’, shows how in different discourse contexts, the concept ofglobalization is interpreted differently. He discusses how the people fromdifferent regions perceive globalization. This chapter clearly representsdiverse thoughts and experiences over the meaning of globalization. Similarly,Helen Kelly-Holmes’ chapter, ‘Languages and Global Marketing’, demonstrates howuniversity students from different parts of the world (Australia, China, Japan,New Zealand, the UK and the USA) react to the notion of ‘globalization’. Shediscusses global marketing and the relation between language practices andmarketing practices through examining the advertising theme “I’m lovin’ it”(Ives 2004).

In the final part, ‘Language, Distance, and Identities’, there are eightchapters closely analysing the relation between language and globalization,particularly focusing on the meaning of language, construction of socialidentities, and how globalization affects communication across cultures anddistances. Claire Kramsch and Elizabeth Boner’s chapter, ‘Shadows of Discourse:Intercultural Communication in Global Contexts’, helps us to understand thenotion of ‘discourse shadow’ in global contexts -- in which shadow is describedas (in Ferguson’s 2006 words) “a kind of doubling, a copy of the original, likea parallel economy alongside the official one, or a private irregular armyalongside the legitimate national army” (Ferguson 2006 cited in Kramsch andBoner 2010, p. 495). Departing from the research on intercultural communication,Kramsch and Boner’s chapter demonstrates how global society is shaped throughselective discourse practices. Kramsch and Boner state that “many of themisunderstandings or disagreements between the participants in these exchangeswere due to a disregard for the multiple shadows of words and their discoursesin a global context of communication” (p. 513). Similar to Kramsch and Boner’schapter, Rakesh M. Bhatt analyses data from post-colonial South and SoutheastAsia and the parts of Anglophone Africa, to show the impact of globalization onthe construction of post-colonial identities in his chapter ‘UnravelingPost-Colonial Identity through Language’. Ingrid Piller and Kimie Takahashi, intheir chapter ‘At the Intersection of Gender, Language, and Transnationalism’,concentrate on gendered identities produced or reproduced in transnationalcontexts. As the previous chapters in this section, Piller and Takahashi’schapter is also remarkably thought-provoking in terms of recognizing the keyrole of the language in which “gendered identities are produced and maintainedin transnational contexts” (p. 540).

The final part continues with a collection of studies which contribute toreconsidering the close relationship between language, distance, and socialidentities; that is, how social identities gain meaning across cultures and areinfluenced by distance. This part begins with William Leap’s chapter,‘Globalization and Gay Language’ in which he examines the language practices ofnon-heterosexual people. Leap demonstrates very rich examples from differentcountries, clearly presenting how gay language is constructed and indexed from alocal perspective within a global context. John C. Maher focuses on the notionof ethnicity from the “explanatory concept of metroethnic and metrolinguisticstyle” (p. 577) in the chapter, ‘Metroethnicities and Metrolanguages’. AlastairPennycook, in his chapter ‘Popular Cultures, Popular Languages, and GlobalIdentities’ focuses on “the active construction of different possible worlds andidentities” (p. 593) by exploring hip-hop as a part of popular culture, in whichlocal and global languages are mixed. Pennycook’s study, as also the lastchapter ‘Global Media and the Regime of Lifestyle’ by David Machin and Theo VanLeeuwen, draws attention to the point that we should consider a variety of newidentities by examining the relation between language and globalization. LilieChouliaraki’s chapter, ‘Global Representations of Distant Suffering’, focuses onimages of suffering produced by media and their representations that affectobservers across the world.


The term ‘globalization’ is used in many different contexts, having plenty ofmeanings and interpretations. Globalization is increasing and this increase haslarger impacts on language and social relations. This volume brings togetherdiverse studies in the field of language and globalization and emphasizesvarious theoretical approaches displaying the interdisciplinary nature ofcurrent language and globalization research. As a comprehensive handbook, itprovides research questions to facilitate readers’ thinking about language andglobalization and to help gain an understanding and awareness of language andglobalization issues in detail. Social actions, representations and discoursepractices having to do with language diversity, connectedness and interculturalcommunication are essential in promoting the area of research for new ways oflooking at situations within local contexts in a global word. It can be notedthat the global and the local values should be seen as oppositional but mutuallyexclusive and one may play an important role in completing the other.

This book does an excellent job at providing rich examples of locally created ornegotiated values and concepts which flow globally and gain new meanings andinterpretations or vice-versa.

Overall, The Handbook of Language and Globalization succeeds in providing thereader with insightful analysis at the intersection of language andglobalization. With its broad scope and inclusion of useful research topics, thevolume can be considered as an open gate for a wider field of study and researchin sociolinguistics. It also provides a stimulating and complex picture of thestate of theory and practice in the area of language and globalization.


Ives, N. (2004) For McDonald’s, the “I’m lovin’ it” phrase of its new campaignhas crossed over into the mainstream. New York Times, May 13, 2004. Availableat:


Şeyda Deniz Tarım is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Muğla University, Turkey. She received her Ph.D. in Education with an interdisciplinary research emphasis of Language, Interaction and Social Organization (LISO) from Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2011). Her research interests include bilingualism, language socialization, peer socialization in children’s interactions, language and gender and qualitative methods in Education. Recently, she is coordinating research focusing on children’s peer interactions and their language practices at a university-based child center.

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