Show MoreOver the years English inarguably has reached a status of a global language and commonly is characterized as a lingua franca. It has become the language that is spoken by millions of people all over the world; as the mother tongue, as the language used for international communication and as the language learned in the millions of schools.
Why has particularly English as a language become a global language? Researching this topic, answers to this question can be found in a global power the British Empire and the USA had during the history, especially since World War II (David Crystal, English as a Global Language, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 2003). Most of the improvements which are essential for the mankind have their roots…show more content…
Diversity of many cultures and their languages define the beauty and national pride of one country and then any changes and modifications of the language affect its structure. It is commonly said that a language of a country equals its identity.
Moreover, fluency in English has become important in business world because investors prefer negotiating and closing deals in English which leads to unfair treatment to non-speaking English companies who need hiring interpreters. Internet communication is mainly in English because Internet was born in the USA so that is not surprising. What is surprising is the fact that some of the most successful companies like MasterCard, Sony and Kodak don’t have internet pages in many languages. In that case, their pages turn into short presentation in certain language. According to their Internet pages, knowing English means getting more information on Internet and it creates walls within the cultures because it limits people regarding they speak, read and write in English or not. On the other hand, becoming a global language has its positive effects. Despite so many cultures, languages and limitations, human’s innate need is to connect with other people; curiosity and desire to acquaint something different lead us to other cultures and then appears a problem connected to a language issue. Here comes the solution and that is English as a global language.
There are two competing drives to take into account: the pressure for international intelligibility, and the pressure to preserve national identity. It is possible that a natural balance may be achieved between the two, but it should also be recognized that the historical loyalties of British ex-colonies have been largely replaced by pragmatic utilitarian reasoning.
The very dominance of an outside language or culture can lead to a backlash or reaction against it. People do not take kindly to having a language imposed on them, whatever advantage and value that language may bring to them. As long ago as 1908, Mahatma Gandhi said, in the context of colonial India: �To give millions a knowledge of English is to enslave them�. Although most former British colonies retained English as an official language after independence, some (e.g. Tanzania, Kenya, Malaysia) later deliberately rejected the old colonial language as a legacy of oppression and subjugation, disestablishing English as even a joint official language. Even today, there is a certain amount of resentment in some countries towards the cultural dominance of English, and particularly of the USA.
As has been discussed, there is a close link between language and power. The USA, with its huge dominance in economic, technical and cultural terms, is the driving force behind English in the world today. However, if the USA were to lose its position of economic and technical dominance, then the �language loyalties� of other countries may well shift to the new dominant power. Currently, perhaps the only possible candidate for such a replacement would be China, but it is not that difficult to imagine circumstances in which it could happen.
A change in population (and population growth) trends may prove to be an influential factor. The increasing Hispanic population of the USA has, in the opinion of some commentators, already begun a dilution of the �Englishness� of the country, which may in turn have repercussions for the status of the English language abroad. Hispanic and Latino Americans have accounted for almost half of America�s population growth in recent years, and their share of the population is expected to increase from about 16% today to around 30% by 2050. Some even see the future possibility of a credible secessionist movement, similar to that for an independent Quebec in Canada, and there has been movements within the US Republican party (variously called "English First" or "Official English" or "US English") to make English the nation�s official language in an attempt to reduce the significance of Spanish. Official policies of bilingualism or multilingualism in countries with large minority language groups, such as are in place in countries like Canada, Belgium and Switzerland, are an expensive option and fraught with political difficulties, which the USA would prefer to avoid.
A 2006 report by the British Council suggests that the number of people learning English is likely to continue to increase over the next 10-15 years, peaking at around 2 billion, after which a decline is predicted. Various attempts have been made to develop a simpler "controlled" English language suitable for international usage (e.g. Basic English, Plain English, Globish, International English, Special English, Essential World English, etc). Increasingly, the long-term future of English as a global language probably lies in the hands of Asia, and especially the huge populations of India and China.
Having said that, though, there may now be a critical mass of English speakers throughout the world which may make its continued growth impossible to stop or even slow. There are no comparable historical precedents on which to base predictions, but it well may be that the emergence of English as a global language is a unique, even an irreversible, event.