Without words, what do we have? From language, we define what is possible—what we think, who we talk to, what we do, and where we go. Language is more than a vessel for thought. It communicates our identity and status and reinforces the cultural and economic politics of globalization. It is the “battlefield … upon which players in the global information economy grapple for property, respectability, and political voice.” A fascination with the ways in which language shapes the human experience motivates me to explore the evolving relationship between English and neoliberal capitalism. To observe this relationship in daily life, I examine its place in humor. Though many uphold humor as a retreat from hegemony, it remains embedded in the very order it strives to escape. Engrish.com is a website that shows examples of botched English in China. By highlighting nonnative English speakers’ mistakes, Engrish.com demonstrates native English speakers’ efforts to maintain their control of English, a key form of capital in today’s information economy.
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