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Keywords:

  • linguistic justice;
  • lingua franca;
  • Philippe Van Parijs;
  • global justice;
  • demos

Central to Philippe Van Parijs' recent text, Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World, are claims that the emergence of English as a global lingua franca is (1) inevitable, (2) necessary for transnational justice and (3) to be accelerated. After first outlining the reasoning behind these claims, this article then goes on to argue that there are good reasons to doubt that English will inevitably become a global lingua franca; the absence of a lingua franca is not an insurmountable obstacle to the achievement of transnational justice; and there is little justification for artificially accelerating the universalisation of English.

Van Parijs, P. (2011) Linguistic Justice for Europe and the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.