The working language of ASEAN : English as the Influencer in ELT in ASEAN (+6)

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Date: 10th May 2019

Time: 11:20 – 12:05

Room: Parkview 2

Presented By : Ivano Buoro

In the period between ASEAN’s foundation in 1967 and the signing of the ASEAN Charter 40 years later in 2007, English was ASEAN’s de facto common language (Krasnick, 1995). The 2007 Charter officially designated English as “[t]he working language of ASEAN” (ASEAN, 2007). Today, English continues to influence societies across the region in positive ways, but also in ways that may not be so expected, desirable or even welcomed. Kirkpatrick (2011) argued that English could affect national languages and of course local languages in unintended ways. This leads us to consider the value of languages and issues of identity.

Who chose English as ASEAN’s working language, and why? What are the intended and unintended consequences of deciding on English as the working language of the group? For example, how might English affect identity within ASEAN member states? Who needs it and who should learn it? Who should teach it? Does it matter?

This discussion will consider English as the influencer in ASEAN (+ 6), what “Englishing” ASEAN might involve and what a fully “Englished” ASEAN might look and sound like. I will conclude by asking, “Is English enough for ASEAN+ 6?”.