Stratified English-Language Fluency in Jordan: Perpetuating class division and limiting socioeconomic opportunity

  • Hailey Burgess Boston College

Abstract

Today, there exist two very different versions of Jordan vying for superiority: that which is rooted in an indigenous Arab culture and language, and that of Westernizing, wealthy, and influential minorities. English language proficiency and fluency is an important aspect of this widening gap. It can determine employment opportunity, social interaction, and acceptance into various spaces. Its causes, while more complex and difficult to untangle, can ultimately be traced to an education system rife with class-based hierarchy and unequal resource distribution as well as a postcolonial association of English as a language of superiority and, increasingly, a marker of class difference. Thus, rather than perpetuate the spread of English for nonessential purposes, Jordan should undertake educational reform projects focusing on an Arabic curriculum with universal standards across governorates and the public-private sector divide. Further, it should more efficiently enforce existing laws affirming the primacy of Arabic in public life and take steps to tighten loopholes such as tourism permits for private businesses.

Published
2018-09-23
How to Cite
Burgess, H. (2018). Stratified English-Language Fluency in Jordan: Perpetuating class division and limiting socioeconomic opportunity. Elements, 14(1). Retrieved from https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/elements/article/view/10324
Section
Articles