Macquarie University
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Global English, global identities, and the global world: perceptions of a group of Korean English language users

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posted on 2022-03-28, 10:39 authored by Colum Ruane
While global flows of information can be considered to be co - constructed and dynamic in nature, these same cultural movements may be seen by some to be under the influence of more prominent global forces and their associated cultural assets, e.g. the US and English. Nevertheless, contemporary English users' increased global mobility, leading to more intensified cultural encounters can foreground more nuanced interpretations of the global world and its cultural cycles and dynamics. Essentially, viewed from Ulrich Beck's Cosmopolitan Perspective, the contemporary era is one of intensified online and offline global encounters that enables Global English users to take on more subjective globally critical dispositions. Therefore, this research is in response to current globalising trends where global values, knowledge, and identities are constructed through more unique individual experiences. Such perspectives allow for a more critical analysis of English's position in the world, how it is consumed, and ho w it and its users interrelate. Adopting a Cosmopolitan Perspective, this study investigated seven Korean English users' views and interpretations of globalisation flows and Global English, and their subsequent positioning to English with respect to their being L2 users of Global English. Attitudes towards globalisation trends, Global English culture, English's position in the world and in the Korean context, World Englishes, and global/local identities were discussed. To address these issues, a longitudinal qualitative case study approach was utilised. Five semi - structured interviews were conducted with the participants over a 10 - month period. Pre - interview prompts and post - interview reflection blogs were also employed, which aided in the consolidation and recursive element running through the data collection process. The main findings to emerge were as follows. First, global technological innovations, e.g. the Internet, were pin - pointed as being particularly significant in the contemporary world. Such pervasiveness of Internet usage was a main implicating factor in the participants' perspective that iv English is 'not the only way' to navigate and become familiar with the world. It s ubiquitous usage was also highlighted as significantly contributing to a more dynamically woven and interrelating international culture rather than one interpreted through simplistic cultural polarities. Second , while the participants displayed open attitudes towards English variety (WEs), it was rather an acceptance of linguistic nuance as a representation of cultural background than legitimacy of alternative varieties of English. Subsequently Standard English should maintain adherence to native English speaker norms; albeit, global communicative competence among English's many users bore more prominence in this decision than one of native - centred ideology. Third, within the Korean context, the participants unanimously observed a disjuncture between the English received within Korean education system and the English needed for a more globally engaged Korean populace. Their views here also contributed to their acceptance of Korean English, as being a representation of Korean global engagement and agency. Lastly, while the participants displayed a sense of ownership and appropriation of English, such a relationship with the language did not necessarily fact or into their self - described global identities and orientations. Global knowledge and personal experiences were better descriptors for these orientations. Such perceptions bring into focus the complex processes involved in the construction of global dispositions and identities - certainly, English is a mitigating factor, but is one among many. The findings overall, suggest that as an outcome of increased global mobility, English users are forming more critical nuanced dispositions towards English, the global context, and its situatedness therein. Positioning oneself to native English speaker practices does not concurrently mean one is positioning oneself to native imperialistic ideologies. While insights revealed here certainly shine a spotlight on the Korean English education system, findings overall have implications for English education worldwide, in that, more awareness needs to be employed in terms of English learners more global active engagement.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- 2. Literature review -- 3. Methodology -- 4. Interpreting globalisation -- 5. Interpreting English in the world -- 6. Discussion -- 7. Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 298-325

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Science, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Philip Benson


Copyright Colum Ruane 2019. Copyright disclaimer:




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