This special issue has Asia as its focus, springboarding primarily from the multilingual reality that defines South and Southeast Asia, but also including the regions of East Asia normally considered more monolingual. The collection of articles addresses the tensions involved in how the countries position the English language even as they maintain and manage their own endogenous language(s), critically considering issues concerning plurilingual practices long existing in the region, the consequences of post-independence official language and medium of instruction choices, as well as the situation of minority communities who tend to fall out of official consideration, highlighting the interesting disjuncts between official discourse and community practice that often exist, and the implications that thus arise, particularly for policy and education. While English holds great import as a former colonial language and/ or a most valuable commodity in this age of globalization, it also becomes evident that, particularly in East and Southeast Asia, Mandarin may indeed be another force to be reckoned with.
1. Introduction (by Lim, Lisa); 2. Articles; 3. The plurilingual tradition and the English language in South Asia (by Canagarajah, Suresh); 4. Language as a problem of development: Ideological debates and comprehensive education in the Philippines (by Tupas, T. Ruanni F.); 5. Not plain sailing: Malaysia's language choice in policy and education (by Hashim, Azirah); 6. Beyond fear and loathing in SG: The real mother tongues and language policies in multilingual Singapore (by Lim, Lisa); 7. Towards 'biliteracy and trilingualism' in Hong Kong (SAR): Problems, dilemmas and stakeholders' views (by Li, David C.S.); 8. English in China: Convergence and divergence in policy and practice (by Feng, Anwei); 9. The teaching of English as an International Language in Japan: An answer to the dilemma of indigenous values and global needs in the Expanding Circle (by Hino, Nobuyuki); 10. Discussion; 11. Multilingual Asia: Looking back, looking across, looking forward (by Bruthiaux, Paul)