Book review: Behind the Words: The FCO, Hegemonolingualism and the End of Britain’s Freedom

In this book, the author laments the decline of the use of Standard English in the Foreign Office in the quest for diversity or the misapprehension that it is somehow connected to ‘class’. Using original texts, the book demonstrates how FCO English has deteriorated in the last thirty years, owing to a combination of political correctness, globalisation, the proliferation of emails, Twitter, Blairism, and, most especially, management speak (the author gives some toe-curling examples of the latter). Mallinson claims this lack of clarity is to blame for Britain’s failure to get its message across, which goes hand in hand with its diminishing influence in the world.

Password Magazine (41), p.22.


Behind the Words: The FCO, Hegemonolingualism and the End of Britain’s Freedom is available in a newly issued paperback from Cambridge Scholars for only £29.99. Please click here to purchase it.

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