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How the English Language’s Disproportionate Influence Skews Global Narratives

October 10, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
No one questions English’s status as the world’s go-to language for business, tech, tourism and academia, but that popularity has also made it disproportionately influential on news. In a chapter of Hostwriter’s Unbias the News: Why Diversity Matters for Journalism, journalist, writer and managing editor of the Global Investigative Journalism Network Tanya Pampalone looks at how English’s prominent status can lead to skewing of entire narratives. We break down an excerpt of that chapter published for GIJN and look at how this inequality also means missed opportunities for interactions between the non-native and non-English speaking world, creative or otherwise. By the Numbers Kai Chan, a distinguished fellow at the INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative, put together the Power Language Index in 2016, which measures which languages in the world hold the most influence based on five key factors. (G)eography: countries spoken, land area, tourists (inbound) (E)conomy: GDP, PPP, Exports, FX market, SDR composition (C)ommunications: Native speakers, second-language speakers, language family size, tourists (outbound) (K)nowledge & Media: Internet content, feature films, Top 500 universities, academic journals. (D)iplomacy: United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Supranational Organizations (SNOs). Based on these factors, Kai presented the world’s top 10 languages, their respective number…

Presentation – Kai Chan – Is the English language too powerful? / L’anglais est-il trop fort?

August 24, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
The below is my presentation at LangFest 2019. Le dessous est ma présentation au LangFest 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAET9DY2NOY English is the most powerful language from a global perspective (as measured by the Power Language Index). At the local level, even in places where it does not have status, English can still overwhelm the local language(s). This presents a dilemma for societies that want to participate in a globalised world yet retain and protect their local tongue. The power dynamics of Montreal are examined using the lens of the Power Language Index. L'anglais est la langue la plus puissante au niveau mondial (selon le «Power Language Index» ou «Indice des langues influentes»). Au niveau local, même dans les endroits où il n’a pas de statut, l’anglais peut toujours submerger la/les langue(s) locale(s). Cela pose un dilemme aux sociétés qui souhaitent participer à l'économie mondiale tout en conservant et en protégeant leur(s) langue(s) locale(s). Les dynamiques linguistiques de Montréal sont examinées en utilisant le «Power Language Index». Bio: Dr Kai L. Chan is a Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD. Previously he was a special adviser to the UAE federal government on competitiveness and statistics, where he focused on that country’s positioning on global performance…

Dîner LangFest: Kai L. Chan

July 19, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
The below is an interview I did with the LangFest organisers. Le dessous est mon interview avec les organisateurs du LangFest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn_2piPkaK4 #LangFest19 #LangFestConferenciers www.kailchan.ca Кай Л. Чан

Exploring the World’s Top Power Languages

June 23, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
The dominance of English worldwide as a lingua franca is well documented, but there are other languages that can also afford their speakers more power than others. Speaking a language can help you unlock a host of opportunities, whether it’s to travel overseas or perhaps connect with another language group in your own country. Some languages have the ability to unlock more opportunities than others, and speaking certain languages can positively alter an individual’s life prospects quite dramatically. So how do you measure the power and importance of a language? One obvious way to do that is to count how many people speak it. But that’s less helpful than asking who speaks that language. Languages gain power if they are used by powerful groups, whether that’s measured in economic, political or military terms. In colonial countries, it’s common for a small language group to dominate over a much larger language population. So the number of people speaking a language is less important than the power that group holds. Sharing a language with a relatively powerful group empowers the individual and tends to open up a greater set of opportunities for them. Measuring power in language The Power Language Index (PLI)…

L’anglais, trop fort

November 6, 2018 Articles, Media / Op-ed
L’anglais, trop fort ANTOINE ROBITAILLE Mardi, 6 novembre 2018 05:00MISE à JOUR Mardi, 6 novembre 2018 05:00 Je suis tombé hier par hasard sur un texte intitulé « Is the English language too powerful ? ». (La langue anglaise est-elle trop puissante ?) L’auteur, Kai Chan, est « distinguished fellow » à l’INSEAD (l’Institut européen d’administration des affaires). Il a grandi à Toronto, mais conseille entre autres le gouvernement des Émirats arabes unis. Chan met des chiffres sur ce qu’on sait intuitivement, soit que la langue anglaise n’a peut-être jamais été aussi forte : c’est la « langue des sciences, des affaires et de la recherche », écrit-il. Le chercheur a dressé un « Power Language Index » (PLI), sorte de palmarès, afin de déterminer quelle est la langue « la plus utile dans la vie d’une personne, dans une perspective mondiale ». Sans surprise, dans le PLI, l’anglais a le score le plus élevé, 0,889. Le mandarin ? 0,411. « Ainsi, écrit Chan, non seulement l’anglais est la langue la plus puissante, elle l’est deux fois plus que sa plus proche rivale. » Montréal Dans sa note publiée par le World Economic Forum, le chercheur se penche sur le cas de Montréal. Il souligne ceci :…




These are the world’s most powerful languages:

Research Documents (pdf)

Intelligence Capital IndexPower Language IndexImmigrating into the workforceCanada's Mosaic Ceiling

Presentations (pdf):