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Globalization, Transnational Communication and the Internet

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Author(s): David Block

Journal: International Journal of Multicultural Societies
ISSN 1817-4574

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 22;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: multilingualism | linguistic diversity on Internet | linguistic diversity | language on Internet

ABSTRACT
This paper sets the scene for the research presented in the rest of this IJMS issue. It begins with a discussion of Globalization in which the phenomenon of the Internet is located. The argument is that, no matter how disputed aspects of Globalization may be, greater interaction is indisputable, with inevitable consequences for language practice. The second section considers the spread of English in the world and recounts the history of the Internet and its genesis in the English-speaking world. Then, in a review of the literature, the case is made that despite the initial assumptions by some that the Internet would serve to strengthen English as the international language par excellence, current research seems to be showing that matters are evolving in a far more nuanced manner. Thus, although it is true that English was the main medium of the early Internet, it is increasingly the case that the Internet is now a communication space for other language communities, both ‘big’ (e.g. Spanish, German, Japanese) and ‘small’. These conclusions in the recent literature are confirmed by the findings of the present research project, reported in the four other papers.

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