Ideologies of English in Asia: an editorial

Alexandra Grey, Loy Lising, Jinhyun Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

1 Citation (Scopus)


That English has spread in Asia is well-known, but this critical reflection, and the five contributions and book review that we hereby introduce, contribute to rectifying the relative absence in the sociology of language literature of studies approaching language ideologies and practices in specific Asian contexts from local perspectives. We are not alone; our inspections of journal archives show that scholars are increasingly responding to this relative absence in recent years. What this special issue offers is further diversity of both authors and cases, and moreover this special issue draws attention to the immutable, binary structure underlying the various globally-circulating discourses of the East and the West as part of investigating how socially constructed East-West binaries interact with language ideologies about English and other languages. It shifts the attention from fixity – East versus West – to diversity, extending East to Easts and West to Wests as our contributors identify and examine multiple, endogenous “imaginative geograph[ies]” (from Arif Dirlik’s [1996] “Chinese history and the question of Orientalism”, History and Theory 35(4): 97) constructed through various Orientalist ideologies. It founds this approach on a combination of the theory of recursive language ideologies and critical Orientalism scholarship. This is generative of new and useful sociolinguistic analyses. Having laid out this theoretical extension, this editorial then provides an overview of the issue’s contributions, which examine how socially constructed East-West binaries are interacting with language ideologies about English and other languages on sub-national scales in various Asian contexts including in Korea, China, Japan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number271 (Special Issue: Ideologies of English in Asia)
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2021


  • internal colonialism
  • Orientalism
  • recursive language ideology
  • Self-Orientalism
  • World Englishes


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