What is it about?

English is talked about globally as the "international language" and the "language of development", and politicians the media have talked about English replacing French in Africa. Based on extensive fieldwork, this article demonstrates how talking about English in Algeria is connected to hopes of social mobility, migration and re-imagining personal and national identities. Discourses about English also become a way of talking about change: simultaneously moving forwards (moving on personally and towards a more connected future for the nation) and moving backwards (towards a sense of "authentic" identity before French colonisation). However, realities on the ground are much more complex.

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Why is it important?

Celebrations of English as the "international language" or the "language of development" have to be nuanced through empirical research: who benefits and who loses from the promotion of English and the way it is being appropriated? Who is rewarded for learning English, and whose way of learning/speaking is ignored?

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This page is a summary of: ‘Back to the “futur”’: Mobility and immobility through English in Algeria, Language & Communication, January 2019, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.langcom.2018.11.004.
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