Small things..

May 1, 2019

I have no interest in activism of any kind in any discourse. Which is why I have no personal opinion on if a translingual approach to education will be a good or a bad idea. I do have some small things I’ve been thinking regarding the article.

Denying that Standard English doesn’t exist is essentially just wrong. If there exists any form of the language English that is dominant within academia and overall power Dynamics it is Standard English. It’s just not definable. So starting from this line and looking at the topic from the end wouldn’t be a good idea. We should rather see how historically an idea (rather vague) of standard English has come to be. What was the need of it? What were the material conditions? Why need standardizing? Link to capitalism and labor? Maybe to ethical issues of how to treat the other (slavery and segregation)?

The link to power and knowledge is essential here. All the more reasons standard English exists. From let’s say 1950 to 2019 more variations of English has died. The standard English has prevailed. Why?

One can say,  knowledge and the discourse around it needs an universal language. (We can link science and ideology very easily, but I’ll leave that) To do scientific studies, the researchers often advocate for a specific language. Because there is emphasis on clarity and rigor and clear understanding.

We have to understand things also in the light of difference. How has the other become the demon? The difference in language is treated differently in different contexts. And so are others. No American has a problem with a Japanese girl speaking Japanese in the streets of Tokyo. Problem arrives when elements of that Japanese arrive in her English. Why? Because we don’t understand difference. And I don’t mean some nationalist idiot. I mean political liberals, we don’t understand what difference is.

Problems can arrive in a Translingual future with monolingualism. For example jobs. No one would want to hire a person who knows one language and has absolutely no experience of another.

Which brings us to the question of the material reality that has made this demonic notion of difference happen. Capitalism. It is something that will include any ideas. And as long as we don’t do a historical judgment of what language and power have to do with each other and how there are superstructures that make sure that difference remains in place in a demonic way rather that what it is (naturality) ; we won’t be able to look into a new path. If there is one.