Publication Date



When two or more cultural groups make contact and interact over a period of time, language dominance often occurs. In this situation, one dominates the others both culturally and linguistically. This in turn, causes the weaker to start using the language of the more powerful until eventually it shifts its language and then its culture over to that of the more dominant group. Eventually its own language and culture dies. Language dominance, language shift and language death are social and linguistic phenomena that has been occurring for thousands of years. Historically, there were two great waves of language dominance, and they were the Neolithic revolution and the Colonial era. We are now in the midst of a third great wave – Globalization.

Globalization is mainly driven by the sole superpower – the United States and its ally the United Kingdom. The result is that English has become the first truly global language in human history. This global language and other lesser international languages are causing language shift and death at an unprecedented scale. This thesis focuses on: what language dominance is, why it occurs, language shift and death, historic examples of language dominance, the link between language dominance and linguistic imperialism; as well as the spread of English, how it is spread, who is doing it and why they are actively contributing to its spread.

This thesis is aimed at teachers and others in the EFL profession to become aware of the world context in which they teach.


First and Second Language Acquisition | International and Intercultural Communication | Linguistics