Be up-to-date with the English language

Professor Adam Jaworski from the School of English at Hong Kong University presenting his paper during the seminar. BT/Wardi Wasil

PROFESSOR Adam Jaworski from the Hong Kong University suggested that the English courses from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FASS) should be up to date with current issues surrounding the English language.

He said this at the sidelines of a seminar organised by FASS held at UBD yesterday.

“I think pointing students towards current global cultural, social and political issues in English is an innovative step because it goes beyond the traditional English subject,” he said.

The professor said that the emphasis on recent issues regarding the English language is because English has become the language of globalisation.

“English is no longer a monolithic language code owned by a selected few,” he said.

The world economy is fragmented now, he explained, and in this post-industrial world most places depend on the tertiary sector, information culture and service economy where language is the main tool.

According to Professor Jaworski, this is advantageous for academics because language is their tool as well as their product as they produce papers of their studies.

Therefore, he said, the use of English can be commodified, adding that being aware of issues surrounding the language can help students and academics’ proficiency in it. Professor Jaworski added that linguistic, communicative and literary courses in UBD should also try to incorporate visual media and culture.

“A lot of literature today is multimodal, in fact, a lot of language is multimodal so visual awareness and literacy might be good areas to expand,” he said.

“English can serve populations from different parts of the world in different ways, it does not have to conform to the same set of norms and standards,” he later added.

Additionally, he said that the importance of the humanities and social sciences is not to be underestimated.

“It allows for people to be self aware, self critical and critical of other people in a constructive way by being able to argue different subject positions of social, cultural, and political positions in a more informed way,” he later added. Professor Jowarski is a visiting professor who took part in 18 English in South East Asia (ESEA) Conference that was held by UBD recently where he presented a keynote paper entitled ‘Pride, Profit and Prejudice: Metadiscourse and Language Ideologies in Hong Kong Travelogues’.

 The Brunei Times


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