Salomone Presents at 27th International Conference of Europeanists

Professor Rosemary Salomone recently presented a paper on “The Ties That Bind: Is English Reshaping Identity and Belonging in Europe?” at the 27th International Conference of Europeanists hosted by the Council for European Studies. Developing themes explored in The Rise of English: Global Politics and the Power of Language (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), the paper examines whether the spread of English as the dominant lingua franca is reshaping national identity and feelings of belonging among western Europeans. It specifically looks at France, Italy, and the Netherlands, and the discourse surrounding legal and policy debates over English-taught university programs, as a lens for exploring attitudes toward the national language vis à vis English as they reflect each country’s distinct history and politics. It further refutes the reality of the linguistically homogeneous nation-state and the time-worn notion of “one nation-one language” in view of mass migration, globalization, modern technology, high job mobility, and the push to develop a European identity based in multilingualism. The paper concludes that, under the weight of these competing forces, what it means to be French, Italian, or Dutch is shifting along different axes where the national language is one aspect or measure of belonging. Though it is reasonable to assume that English is diminishing the use of national languages, albeit in different degrees, the precise impact of English on national identity per se in each country remains a far more complex question.

Rosemary Salomone
Kenneth Wang Professor of Law

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