Program studi magister pendidikan bahasa inggris pbi batam universitas sarjanawiyata taman siswa

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Disusun Untuk Melengkapi Salah Satu Tugas

Mata Kuliah Filsafat Ilmu

Dosen Pengampu : Prof. DR. Gunawan, M. Pd.

Disusun oleh:

Sulastri Manurung






Almost all countries have their own language as first language. Indonesia also has Bahasa Indonesia as national language. Since English has become international language, it has great influence to the existence of Bahasa Indonesia as national language and social communication. As a result, we can see the impact of English influences in our country. Students are taught English since primary level, and English has become one of the subjects for national examination. English is not only introduced to the students as foreign language, but students should follow all grammatical rules of the English. Those who are going to continue to the university have to take and pass TOEFL test. Moreover, English also as one of qualification to apply for a job or to get a better position.

English does not only bring impact for students but it also has great influence to social life and cultures. People tend to behave like a foreigner and prefer to follow their life style such as fashion, food, etc. many people also often use phrases or slang language even when they speak national language. These facts show that there is language imperialism towards Bahasa Indonesia.

    1. Definition

Linguistic imperialism, or language imperialism, is a linguistics concept that "involves the transfer of a dominant language to other people". The transfer is essentially a demonstration of power—traditionally, military power but also, in the modern world, economic power—and aspects of the dominant culture are usually transferred along with the language. Linguistic imperialism is also defined as the imposition of one language on speakers of other languages.

In our time, the global expansion of English has often been cited as the primary example of linguistic imperialism. The term linguistic imperialism originated in the 1930s as part of a critique of Basic English and was reintroduced by linguist Robert Phillipson in his monograph Linguistic Imperialism (OUP, 1992). In that study, Phillipson offered this "working definition" of English linguistic imperialism: "the dominance asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages" (47). Phillipson viewed linguistic imperialism as a "sub-type" of linguicism.

Linguistic Imperialism (Phillipson, 1992) and English as a Global Language (Crystal, 1997) examine the same social reality: the phenomenal, world-wide growth of the English language.

Many scholars have participated in lively discussions of Phillipson’s claims. Alan Davies, for instance, envisions the spectre of Phillipson haunting the Department of Applied Linguistics in Edinburgh:

'Round up the usual suspects', he cries, outing those who have pretended all these years merely to teach applied linguistics, but who have really been plotting with the British Council to take over the world.

For Davies, two cultures inhabit Linguistic Imperialism: one, a culture of guilt ("colonies should never have happened"); the other, that of romantic despair ("we shouldn’t be doing what we are doing"). Rajagopalan goes a step farther and maintains that Phillipson’s book has led to a guilt complex among English language learning and teaching (ELT) professionals.

Davies also argues that Phillipson’s claims are not falsifiable: what "if the dominated... wanted to adopt English and continue to want to keep it? RP’s unfalsifiable answer must be that they don’t, they can’t, they’ve been persuaded against their better interests." It has thus been argued that Phillipson’s theory is patronizing in the sense that it does not regard developing countries as being capable of independent decision-making (to adopt or not to adopt ELT). In the context of Nigeria, Bisong holds that people in the "periphery" use English pragmatically—they send their children to English-language schools precisely because they want them to grow up multilingual. Regarding Phillipson, Bisong maintains that "to interpret such actions as emanating from people who are victims of Centre linguistic imperialism is to bend sociolinguistic evidence to suit a preconceived thesis." If English should be abolished because it is foreign, Bisong argues, then Nigeria itself would also have to be dissolved, because it was conceived as a colonial structure.

Furthermore, the assumption that the English language itself is imperialistic has come under attack. Henry Widdowson has argued that "there is a fundamental contradiction in the idea that the language of itself exerts hegemonic control: namely that if these were the case, you would never be able to challenge such control." Additionally, the idea that the promotion of English necessarily implies a demotion of local languages has been challenged. Holborrow points out that "not all Englishes in the centre dominate, nor are all speakers in the periphery equally discriminated against." Irish English, for instance, could be regarded as a non-dominant centre variety of English.


According to David Crystal, a global language is the one which is given special status- priority in business, education and government- over native or mother-tongue languages. This special status can be conferred in two ways: the government can make it the official language, or it can receive priority in schooling.(Crystal, 3-5)Nowadays, “English is said to have the status of a world language” (kivisto, 4) since it dominates economic and cultural fields, and it is the language most widely taught as a foreign language around the world. Nevertheless, the status of English as a global language has lead to linguistic imperialism which, according to Philipson, refers to“the dominance of English over other languages and cultures” (Philipson qtd inKivisto, 9). This linguistic imperialism exploits and monopolizes other languages and cultures, thus creating language death, loss of identity and a superior-inferior division among people and languages. To begin with, many linguists state that “the processes of language domination and loss have been known throughout linguistic history, and exist independently of the emergence of a global language.” (Crystal, 20) But, although this is indeed true, it is important to highlight that language death has increased due to the existence of a global language. The spread of it, although beneficial for international economical and political relations, has accelerated the disappearance of minority languages by making them unnecessary for the purpose of communication. As David Crystal points out: This is indeed an intellectual and social tragedy. When a language dies, so much is lost. (…) language is the repository of the history of a people. It is their identity. Oral testimony(…) provides us with a unique view of our world and a unique canon of literature. It is their legacy to the rest of humanity. Once lost, it can never be recaptured. (Crystal, 20)Second, it is really important to stress that the linguistic imperialism threatens the identity of many speech communities. As Crystal claims, language is “the chief means of showing where we belong and of distinguishing one social group from another” (Crystal, 20); therefore, language is extremely related with personal and social identity. This identity is negatively affected by the spread of a global languages in communities lose their customs, beliefs and traditions. For instance, Celtic languages have been reduced by the influence of English in Scotland and Ireland(Modiano qtd in Kivisto, 9). Furthermore, this situation may result in conflicting positions among people. While native speakers may feel pride of the status of English, non-native speakers may feel resentful, angry or even envious due to the success of English (Crystal, ).

As crystal points out, these feelings “give rise to fears, whether real or imaginary, and fears lead to conflict” (Crystal, ). Consequently, language marches, rioting or hunger-strikes may result from this fear of the lost of identity.(Crystal, ).Finally, it is important to highlight that the linguistic imperialism of a global language creates a superior-inferior division among languages as well as people. On the one hand, although all languages and their varieties have the same status and are equally prestigious, the spread of English as a world language leads people to judge it as more superior and prestigious, giving the other languages an inferior status. As

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