A Critical-Comparative Analysis of Post-global English Language Education: The Cases of Korea and Japan

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In Northeast Asia, as in many other regions, local administrations have interpreted English language acquisition as central to enhancing national competitiveness within the currently dominant neoliberal financial paradigm. Against this background, this comparative analysis critically reviews the structural and ideological processes by which global English impacts the Japanese and Korean educational domains, employing the linguistic imperialism framework (Phillipson,
1992) as its principal theoretical lens. In doing so, this inquiry aims to respond to local calls (see Kubota, 1998) for comprehension of the sociocultural impact of global English within economically developed, neo-colonial contexts. As a comparative study, this report focuses on neighboring settings in an effort to draw attention to the friction between the obligation to learn English for local
empowerment and the underlying inequities that are strengthened by ELT locally. Through close examination of the conditions presented by Japanese and Korean academics, it is determined that the sustained transmission of globalization discourse has been a primary impetus in communicating, from the state level to the public, the symbolic worth of ELL. The pluralistic representation of
internationalization and Englishization acts not only as a mechanism for countering global tensions but as a tool for élite privilege fortification, sustaining circular socioeconomic inequity based on linguistic competence, thereby depriving learners of authentic agency when “electing” to participate in ELL.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalKorea TESOL Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Comparative analysis
  • Sociolinguistics
  • World Englishes
  • Social reproduction


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