The Sovereignty of Global Englishes: Translingual Practices and Postnational Imaginaries
AuthorLee, Jerry Won
Miller, Thomas P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIdeologies of monolingualism sustain three interrelated and seemingly fundamental assumptions about language: (1) native speaker usage is authentic and thus ideal, (2) a person's birthplace correlates with proficiency, and (3) the plurality of languages and varieties results in incomprehensibility. Although the persistence of monolingualism is a central concern for this dissertation, rather than merely dismissing or resisting the logics of monolingualism, this dissertation explores how the practices of English in global contexts, characterized by the movement of people and language resources and the constitution of postnational imaginaries, provides new ways of thinking about the historical and contemporary persistence of monolingual normativity. Therefore, although discourses of nationalism have historically sustained the exceptionalist logics of monolingualism, emerging postnational forms of social organization and language practice invite us to see authenticity as a reconstitutable discourse, national belonging as a mobile practice, and incomprehensibility as a subversive resource. Thus, this dissertation argues that the resilience of monolingualism inhibits us from seeing English language proficiency as a discursive formation: rather than a measure of communicative competence, proficiency must be reimagined as reflective of one's ability to autonomously transgress normative boundaries and communicative conventions. Drawing on a hybrid methodology that incorporates historiography; metacritique of existing scholarship; analyses of various artifacts, including linguistic landscapes, poetry, and popular culture; and theorization of classroom practice; this dissertation insists that, as an increasing number of people around the world use English, as it becomes a global resource increasingly dissociated with any single national imaginary, we are positioned to reconsider what it means to be a proficient user of English. In short, to be proficient at English is to be a "sovereign" user of English: not only able to use English correctly, but able to use English incorrectly without being pathologized for doing so.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English