ENGLISH AS A MEANS OF SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATION: LINGUISTIC IMPERIALISM OR INTERLINGUA?
Natalia G. Popova
Thomas A. Beavitt
Introduction: the process of globalisation has strengthened the position of the English language as a means of communication in all spheres of life, including scientific communication. The expansion of one language not only necessitates changes in the status of other national languages and the emergence of a hierarchical relationship between them, but also significantly affects the political and economic balance of power in the world. The global dominance of English in science not only confers distinct advantages on its native speakers but also discriminates against scholars from non-Anglophone societies. As a result, a threat arises concerning the loss to humanity of unique, culture-specific ways of understanding reality.
Materials and Methods: on the basis of an analysis of modern trends and literature review, such manifestations of linguistic imperialism in the field of academic communication as the IMRaD format, CLIL teaching technologies and English academic writing centres are revealed. Subsequently, these phenomena are investigated using empirical sociological methods: in-depth expert interviews, participant observation and the content study of chemistry papers indexed in Scopus.
Results: it is demonstrated that the Anglophone societies use the global distribution of the English language to advance their competitive advantage in the field of science. The implementation of English language instruction in higher education and Anglophone communicative patterns in scholarly communication – particularly with regard to the representation of research results – might have a negative effect both on the development of researchers’ competencies and their future effectiveness in advancing science.
Discussion and Conclusions: it is concluded that an increased awareness of potential threats caused by the dominance of the English language in scientific communication is needed among all the participants of scientific communication, including higher school lecturers. This can be achieved by using bilingual and bicultural educational approaches.
Keywords: linguistic imperialism; imported metalect; language policy; academic English teaching; IMRaD; scientific communication; English-language education; CLIL; academic writing centres; bilingualism; standardisation of scientific activity; neural networks; interlingua
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to the reviewers whose valuable comments have helped to correct factual errors and improve the quality of the manuscript.
For citation: Popova NG, Beavitt TA. English as a means of scientific communication: linguistic imperialism or interlingua? Integratsiya obrazovaniya = Integration of Education. 2017; 1(21):54-70. DOI: 10.15507/1991- 9468.086.021.201701.054-070
Contribution of the authors: Natalia G. Popova – concept advancement, literature review, research methodology, data collection, data analysis, the first draft of the paper. Thomas A. Beavitt – critical review, commentary revision, interpretation of findings, future research directions, final proofreading.
All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.