Bridging and the English language

Updated Friday, 4th July 2014
Dr Fiona Doloughan, lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University, thinks the fact that English has become a bridging language has impacted it the most

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Language changes, evolves and develops in response to many factors, so you can’t attribute the development of English to one source or person or technology. The fact that English has become a lingua franca, a bridging language, is an important driver of change. Context is also an important shaper of how language is used.
I come from a background in literature and creative writing, and in contemporary fiction there are two conflicting trends: one that serves to internationalise; the other to localise the kind of English used. Language in relation to identity is still something that’s quite important and users try to inflect the language with identity markers.
Now that English has acquired a certain cultural power and is used in multiple contexts, for example in commerce as well as creatively, it is no one’s property. In many situations today, English is spoken by a mix of multilingual and monolingual speakers, and this is as true in education and business as it is in literature.



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