Multilingualism in academic writing for publication: Putting English in its place

Mary Jane Curry & Theresa Lillis
Language Teaching, 2022-04-07


We are living in an era characterized by multilingualism, global mobility, superdiversity (Blommaert, 2010), and digital communications. Mobility and multilingualism, however, have long characterized most geolinguistic contexts, including those where monolingual ideologies have influenced the formation of contemporary nation states (Cenoz, 2013). As language is a pillar of both curriculum and instruction, in many academic spaces around the world efforts are on the rise to acknowledge the colonial origins of English, decenter the dominance of Standard English(es), and decolonize knowledge production (e.g., Bhambra et al., 2018; de Sousa Santos, 2017). Additionally, many ‘inner circle’ (Kachru, 2001) Anglophone contexts have long witnessed the centrifugal forces of multilingualism. Yet what prevails in institutional academic contexts is a centripetal pull toward what has been captured in phrases such as ‘linguistic mononormativity’ (Blommaert & Horner, 2017) or ‘Anglonormativity’ (McKinney, 2017). Nowhere is this pull more evident than in the sphere of writing for publication, relentlessly construed as an ‘English Only’ space, as exemplified in Elnathan's (2021) claim in the journalNature: ‘English is the international language of science, for better or for worse.’
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