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English language policy and planning in Iran

English language policy and planning in Iran
English language policy and planning in Iran
Iran has been in the headlines in the recent years and decades for many socio-political reasons. Many of these involve the confrontation between Islamic revolutionary values and the foreign policies and aspirations of Western governments. Among the Iranian state’s revolutionary values there are no articulated aspirations to isolate the country from the outside world but progress and globalisation are defined within Islamic, revolutionary and nationalistic discourses and therefore the status of English as a foreign language in Iran has been controversial and questionable. Of course the English language is in demand in Iran and it is associated with globalization and progress. However, in the dominant official discourses it is often considered a threat because it incorporates Western values, allows access to these values, and could thus be deemed harmful to local cultures and identities.

The two paradoxical perspectives on the English language in Iran are among the main reasons for tension and difference between top-down official policies and the bottom-up grass-roots English language learning practices of contemporary Iranian society. The state prescribes mainstream English language teaching (ELT) provision from the age of twelve,
but parents who can afford private sector ELT provision encourage their children to learn English outside the limited mainstream education system. Restricted and limited mainstream ELT could therefore be seen as the English language learned by the masses, but private sector ELT remains for the privileged few.

The aim of this thesis is to make a contribution to studies of language policy and planning in general and to an understanding of language policies and practices in Islamic states in particular, with a special emphasis on Iran. In principle, language policy as a sub-discipline of sociolinguistics can be studied in all communities and nation-states, including Iran, but at the same time one of the main aspirations of the thesis is the introduction of this critical field of research to a context to which it has not previously been applied.
Jamshidifard, Saman
5e5fa3ec-3b5c-4ad8-95fb-a88534eaf9c7
Jamshidifard, Saman
5e5fa3ec-3b5c-4ad8-95fb-a88534eaf9c7
Stevenson, Patrick
7b8878de-4a5b-4eaf-88d2-034d9041f41d

Jamshidifard, Saman (2011) English language policy and planning in Iran. University of Southampton, School of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 342pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Iran has been in the headlines in the recent years and decades for many socio-political reasons. Many of these involve the confrontation between Islamic revolutionary values and the foreign policies and aspirations of Western governments. Among the Iranian state’s revolutionary values there are no articulated aspirations to isolate the country from the outside world but progress and globalisation are defined within Islamic, revolutionary and nationalistic discourses and therefore the status of English as a foreign language in Iran has been controversial and questionable. Of course the English language is in demand in Iran and it is associated with globalization and progress. However, in the dominant official discourses it is often considered a threat because it incorporates Western values, allows access to these values, and could thus be deemed harmful to local cultures and identities.

The two paradoxical perspectives on the English language in Iran are among the main reasons for tension and difference between top-down official policies and the bottom-up grass-roots English language learning practices of contemporary Iranian society. The state prescribes mainstream English language teaching (ELT) provision from the age of twelve,
but parents who can afford private sector ELT provision encourage their children to learn English outside the limited mainstream education system. Restricted and limited mainstream ELT could therefore be seen as the English language learned by the masses, but private sector ELT remains for the privileged few.

The aim of this thesis is to make a contribution to studies of language policy and planning in general and to an understanding of language policies and practices in Islamic states in particular, with a special emphasis on Iran. In principle, language policy as a sub-discipline of sociolinguistics can be studied in all communities and nation-states, including Iran, but at the same time one of the main aspirations of the thesis is the introduction of this critical field of research to a context to which it has not previously been applied.

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More information

Published date: June 2011
Organisations: University of Southampton, Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 349430
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/349430
PURE UUID: 1918517b-0d8e-4751-b030-ed311efb71af

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Date deposited: 04 Mar 2013 15:36
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:42

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Contributors

Author: Saman Jamshidifard
Thesis advisor: Patrick Stevenson

University divisions

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