An update on linguistic imperialism in language-learner literature

We previously identified examples of linguistic imperialism in some of our Spanish reviews.

By nature, authors of comprehensible readers create texts that maximize comprehension of the target language for language learners whose first language is English.

This language simplification can sometimes result in unintended linguistic imperialism when the author’s native language is not the target language used to write the book.

We acknowledge that linguistic imperialism is a complex concept and that there are many forms of expression among speakers of any language. We also recognize that what appears to function as language imperialism to one individual may not to another for various reasons.

Therefore, we have added a disclaimer in all our Spanish reviews where linguistic imperialism was identified by our native reviewers and are in the process of updating our glossary as we deepen our understanding. We will keep our readers posted.

We welcome further public and private conversations. Thank you to

Adriana Ramírez and Françoise Thénoux for introducing us to this concept, and to Florencia Henshaw for opening a conversation about “identifying linguistic imperialism” vs “language policing”.

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