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Language in Economic Development: Is English Special and is Linguistic Fragmentation Bad

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Published in Multilingual Matters. English and Development. Policy, Pedagogy and Globalization. Bristol. 2013, p. 243-266
Abstract The part that language might play in economic development has long intrigued scholars from various disciplines. However, no clear story has emerged from the investigations published to date, and the empirical evidence remains inconclusive (Nettle, 2000). The issues at hand are exceedingly broad, and the nature of the links that one wishes to identify, and then measure, is difficult to pinpoint precisely: what do we mean exactly by “development”? And since ‘language’ pervades just about every facet of individual and social life, including economic processes, what manifestations of language should we assume to play a specific role in determining development related outcomes? The very existence of such a link is not self-evident, and most economic analyses, including those in the field known as development economics, tend to assume language away on the grounds that the economic processes at hand, being universal, transcend linguistic variables. It is only in recent years that ‘culture’, which, as an explanatory variable, had largely been relegated to the fringes of development economics as merely contextual, has been allowed to drift back near the centre of the field. Typical recent examples include work by Nobel laureate George Akerlof (Akerlof and Kranton, 2000) on the relationship between economics and identity, or the study of the role played by religiosity in economic development (Barro and McCleary, 2003).
Keywords Economics of multilingualismDevelopment economics
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GRIN, François, ARCAND, Jean-Louis. Language in Economic Development: Is English Special and is Linguistic Fragmentation Bad. In: Multilingual Matters (Ed.). English and Development. Policy, Pedagogy and Globalization. Bristol : [s.n.], 2013. p. 243-266. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:40075

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Deposited on : 2014-09-09

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