1977. Oxford - Intrinsic Values of English.
by C. George SANDULESCU, Stockholm.
(Contribution to the discussions around Lord Quirk's Lecture at Oxford on "What future is there for English as a Language of International Communication", 4 January 1977 . . .)
(This Contribution to the discussions was published in the IATEFL Newsletter, No. 47 of April 1977, pages 12-13; this Newsletter being the Bulletin of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language.)
N.B: The Duke of Edinburgh's Message is given in full in the Newsletter !!!!!!!
The Academic Panel was made up of A.C. GIMSON, Randolph QUIRK, and R.A. CLOSE, under the chairmanship of W.R. LEE, IATEFL President.
C.G. SANDULESCU (Sweden) considered that this topic was by far the most important so far selected for IATEFL conferences. In this particular context, one should perhaps distinguish carefully between 'English language' and 'English discourse'. What we are all teaching is discourse rather than language: the system of English may sometimes be linearised in ways which form 'inappropriate English discourse', though perfectly acceptable English language.
Referring to Lord Quirk's contribution, Sandulescu suggested that a distinction should be made between (a) a language arriving at a top position (mainly because of extrinsic factors) and (b) a language staying at the top (mainly because of intrinsic factors).
In addition to the necessity for English in air-traffic communication (mentioned, however, in the Duke of Edinburgh's message), the discussion has so far ignored the role of computers in keeping English at the top. Communication between man and electronic devices needs one (and only one) natural language. The technological factor is going to keep English at the top. Without any doubt.