Chapter

The Struggle for Linguistic Hegemony, 1780–1980

Charles Issawi

in Cross-Cultural Encounters and Conflicts

Published in print June 1998 | ISBN: 9780195118131
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854554 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195118131.003.0009

Series: Studies in Middle Eastern History

The Struggle for Linguistic Hegemony, 1780–1980

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The chapter traces how French was gradually replaced by English as a world language. The ascendancy of French in the 17th century was ensured by the overwhelming military and political dominance of France. France had a rich culture and enormous wealth. A fascination with Louis XIV of France and his court formed a model for European monarchs. However, new forces in the picture shifted this balance. Britain became the leading commercial, financial, and industrial nation. As the British Empire extended, so did the English language. The United States also felt some expansion resulting from an increase in the number of English speakers settling there. British and American science and technology also rose up and became another favorable factor in the expansion of English. America's participation in the two world wars and the emergence of the United States as a superpower finally tipped the balance.

Keywords: French; English; world language; United States; English speakers; Britain; British Empire

Chapter.  4051 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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