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Publisher Description

Over the centuries, languages have moved from their places of origin to regions where they have not been used previously. According to Nicholas Ostler (2005), languages shift because of migration, military conquest, empire consolidation, and, to a lesser extent, trade and religious proselytizing. English evolved from a local Germanic dialect on continental Europe two millennia ago to worldwide recognition by the early 20th century for these reasons. Models of English-language spread, most notably that of Braj B. Kachru (1985, 1988), have focused predominantly on the sociocultural status and use of English in the areas where it expanded. But such an analysis tends to be ahistorical and static. Thus, this study adds a historical element by focusing on Taiwan and posing the following research questions: How did English come to contemporary Taiwan? Why did the Taiwan people accept the language? How did the language become an established part of Taiwan society? Based on document-derived research of political and military activities involving the United States and Taiwan during World War II and the Cold War, this study identifies a three-step pattern of English-language introduction: Military cooperation that required English proficiency among Taiwan military officers; a subsequent “trickle-down” use of English by the adjacent society, which embraced American culture; followed by the permanent establishment of the language in the society due to Taiwan’s participation in a globalized marketplace. The orientation of this investigation is significant given the generally accepted assumption put forth by Mikhail Bakhtin (1982) that language study cannot be separated from its sociohistoric context. Ultimately, what is at stake is the quality of EFL pedagogy, which is enhanced by teachers and education-resource designers who are aware of the local history of the foreign language as well as its sociolinguistic status. Thus the historicolinguistic perspective here is defined as this study’s systematic, chronological account of military and political events that influenced English-language introduction to Taiwan after the Second World War. The added view can inform foreign-language educators in their decision-making relative to the effectiveness of framing English as a modified product of a learner’s society.

May 18
Creative Media, LLC