Power of Place Ch. 2 Question Set


1. What is the current trend of humanity’s linguistic diversity, and what is globalization’s influence on this homogenization?



2. How is the diversity of languages similar to the diversity of plants and animals?  Use the terms latitude and dominance in your answer.



3. Considering your answer to #2, how is it difficult to record and preserve the many endangered languages?


4. What evidence does DeBlij emply to dismiss the notion that fewer languages will result in less human conflicts?


5. How might loss of linguistic diversity increase and improve globalization?


6. What is the fate that the billions of speakers of minority languages, locals, are born into?  How does that differ from the fate into which you and I, and the hundreds of millions of other globals, were born?


7. DeBlij’s points out that a few languages dominate our globalized world. The world’s youngest country, South Sudan, chose English as its official language even though the country’s population contains no native English speakers.  Hmmm.



8. Will English differentiate as happened to Latin?  Why?


9. On what grounds does DeBlij classify Indo-European languages  “world languages”?


10.  On what grounds does DeBlij not designate Chinese a “world language”?  Where is Mandarin Chinese spoken?


11. How did the French policy of assimilation ensure that French would become, and remain, a “world language”?


12. What is a lingua franca?   How is English a lingua franca?


13. How did European colonialism not erase, but rather simply increase multilingualism in the global periphery? Note how achieving fluency in a European language conferred higher status on colonial locals.


14. So, you are a local in a former European colony.  You speak a minority language. What disadvantages do you face?


15. You are one of the 3 billion locals who will be born in the next several decades. You will migrate to a major, fast-growing mega-city.  What language will you speak with your peers?  How will that language differ from the official or “standard” language in the country where you live?  And, what does that suggest for the future of European “world languages”?



16. Chico State has received money from the Chinese government to pay for Chinese language teachers. How is that related to a general process that the Chinese have undertaken?


17. So isolated minority languages or locals are being lost, even as dominant world languages are facing pressure to hybridize.  Interesting.


18. What evidence from Europe suggests that English is ascending as a global language?


19. Look at Figure 2.4. How does it suggest that US citizens should not just assume that all Europeans will soon be fluent in English? My wife is a native of Sweden. She had 9 years of English education before she graduated from high school.


20. Must a population in the global core be fluent in English or another world language?  Why or why not?  Use Japan in your answer.


21. Why will the percentage of people speaking Standard English as their first language decline throughout the twenty-first century?


22. What is the pattern for the language capabilities of people speaking English as their first language? Why might this be a problem in the future?