chapter  9
21 Pages

English as Capital: The Logic of Conversion

In the previous chapters, we discussed some of the processes through which English comes to be imagined as an entity, and once imagined as such, comes to be linked with value through its placement within the linguistic market. Through this discussion we saw some of the discursive and semiotic mechanisms that construct English as a language with rich indexicality, including economic value-part of the reason why it is elevated to the status of a global language today. However, simply having economic value, or any other kind of value, in itself does not make a global language. A truly global language implies a language that can be accepted and used in any market-in other words, its value must be commensurable, unchanging across markets so that it may be universally valuable. A language that is accepted only in a single market will not be considered a global language, no matter how valuable it is within that market.