Kanavillil Rajagopalan


That language and culture are viscerally tied to one another is irrefutable. By and large, they seem to work in tandem. At least that used to be the case. But currently many argue that the phenomenon of globalization has thrown a spanner in the works. Among other things, it has rendered murky the very identities of individual languages as well as those of the distinct cultures that are supposed to correspond to them (Appadurai, 1990, Higgins, 2011). As forces of transnationalism gather momentum across the world, these identities are slowly being eroded. Hybridity, it seems, is fast turning out to be the order of the day. Nowhere else is this more visible than the case of ‘World English’, a transnational, transcultural reinvention of the language once confined to good old Albion. Acquiring new language skills as part of an effort to become a citizen of the world necessarily implies reinventing oneself. Evidently this is an endless, ongoing task. Who would have thought that poet Tennyson actually prophesied it when he wrote “Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravel'd world whose margin fades forever and forever when I move”! Maybe we have here an apt definition of ‘languaging’.


culture; identity formation; foreign language

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