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Linguistic Imperialism in New Zealand, Ireland, and the United States

by Maia R. Class of 2021

by Maia R. Class of 2021

For my capstone project, I studied how English became a lingua franca, specifically focusing on the unethical side of its rise to power. I researched linguistic imperialism, which is when one language is inflicted upon another. I studied legal documents issued by English rulers and colonizers over the native inhabitants of New Zealand, Ireland, and the United States. In New Zealand, I researched the 1840 Treaty of Wangtai, which was an agreement between the British and the Maori people that was mistranslated from English to Maori. In Ireland, I looked at the 1366 Statute of Kilkenny that prodded English settlers to embrace their heritage. Finally, I studied 1881 American laws about Native American boarding schools. For my conclusion, I looked at the long-term effects of the legal documents and deemed whether or not they left a positive mark on society.

  • Global Scholars
  • Student Capstone 2021