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Thesis: The loss of cultural identity among English as a second language (ESL) learners should be attributed to the globalization of the English language as individuals develop new thinking, perspectives, and values that undermine their traditional culture.

The supporting reasons are:

Language largely influences the development of one’s cultural identity (Hatoss, 2003) by creating tension between a dominant culture and the subculture of second-language speakers (Mercuri, 2012). It has not only formed a new sense of identity among proficient ESL in third-world countries but also affected the country’s dedication to its own culture (Johnson, 2009).

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According to Johnson (2009), learning a language and accepting the language’s culture are inseparable. When ESL learns the English language, they are forced to behave like the Westerns and adopt their culture (Johnson, 2009) such as the beliefs and values that frame the language in line with the culture (Pourkalhor & Esfandiari, 2017), threatening their own culture at the same time.

Learning institutions are also prioritizing the learning of the English language rather than their children’s first language, adding to the loss of cultural identity as students are more inclined to learn English for international markets (Kanno & Varghese, 2010) while believing that their native language is inappropriate and of no value (Mercuri, 2012).

However, Hatoss (2003) also argued that it is possible for people to learn a new language without losing their cultural identity. Yet, this is highly unconvincing since language and cultural identity are closely intertwined (Pourkalhor & Esfandiari, 2017). As proposed by Alfarhan (2016), “In the process of learning English, one may lose some of the irreplaceable concepts and knowledge about the traditional cultural practices or values that can lead to the loss of the cultural identity of that particular group” (p. 4).


    1. Alfarhan, I. (2016). English as a global language and its effects on culture and identity. American Research Journal of English and Literature, 2, 1-6.
    2. Hatoss, A. (2003). Identity formation, cross-cultural attitudes and language maintenance in the Hungarian Diaspora of Queensland. Cultural Citizenship: Challenges of Globalization, 71-77. Retrieved from
    3. Johnson, A. (2009). The rise of English: The language of globalization in China and the European Union. Macalester International, 22(1), 12. Retrieved from
    4. Kanno, Y., & Varghese, M. M. (2010). Immigrant and refugee ESL students’ challenges to accessing four-year college education: From language policy to educational policy. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 9(5), 310-328.
    5. Mercuri, S. P. (2012). Understanding the interconnectedness between language choices, cultural identity construction, and school practices in the life of a Latina educator. Gist Education and Learning Research Journal, 6, 12-34.
    6. Pourkalhor, O. & Esfandiari, N. (2017). Culture in language learning: Background, issues, and implications. International Journal of English language & translation studies, 5(1), 23-32.

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