It is irrefutable that English has become a global language. People from both developing and developed countries communicate in English, and many of them have chosen it as their first international language. Clearly, this is an inexorable itinerary of globalisation. In fact, many linguistic experts retort that English is slowly but surely dominating today’s contemporary world at the expense of minor languages. Thus, this provides us with a firm foundation of argument regarding the history of English from the ancient time to the present time. Additionally, the arguments results into the understanding of the importance of English to the international community leave alone how population numbers influences the extensive of English. It is important to note that the ascendancy of English on minority languages has led to the gradual disappearance of minority languages; something many linguists consider as a negative impact. According to John Slight, English has gone through three eras leading to its globalisation and widespread. Interestingly, the globalisation of English has occurred naturally though after a long period. Even though diverse folks have made great efforts to create artificial languages such as Esperanto to be global languages, they have failed to curb the dominance of English1.
English as a global language
It is true English is now a global language due to its efficiency. From Asia to Africa, South America to Europe, people have found English so easy to communicate.
Today, china has the highest number of native speakers than any other country. Take for example a comparison between English and Chinese. The Chinese language characterise with simple syntax that is devoid of prepositions, articles, and verb conjugation and tense. In addition, the Chinese language does not involve singularity or plurality of its nouns hence making it ineffectual in expressing intricate meanings. Yong and Keith argue that the Chinese writing system is cumbersome and many people find it difficult to master its precepts2.
On the other hand, many Chinese people find it easier to grasp the Roman alphabet-the alphabet widely shared by many distinct languages such as German, Spanish and French. Primarily, the Roman alphabet is largely phonetic, that is, it characterises sounds and not concepts. This makes it the most valuable method of reciting the explicit sounds of words and phrases. As Abbott notes in the elementary school journal, English does not involve so many complexities in terms of pronunciation and phrase or sentence construction. Nevertheless, he asserts that among the few irregularities that render the erudition of the Roman alphabetic system a bit tricky is the pronunciation of some characters. For instance, the gh in and through does not have an explicit sound. Likewise, the gh in laugh represents a completely different sound “f”. Nevertheless, through memorisation and training, a person can easily overcome these and other few irregularities of the Roman alphabetic system3.
In commerce, people prefer English and without any doubt, it has become a global commerce language. Research shows that due to its effectiveness, English has become a lingua franca- a language extensively dominating among non-native speakers worldwide. For instance, many businesspersons believe that in order to stay in business, they ought to communicate in English. This has forced many of them to learn English in order to be all-round businesspersons. Crystal is quick to assert that through learning many non-native speakers have mastered English and can speak it with fluency4. According to the recently released statistics, countries that use English as a mother tongue language for example, United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia have an accumulated population of over 370 million native speakers. On the other hand, the statistics guesstimate over a billion non-native speakers of English in the rest of the world.
Perhaps it is vital to illustrate a short history of English. Many people erroneously believe that English is a language mainly used by people to express romance. On the contrary, the origin of English dates back to the time of conquest of England in 1066. The Normans who conquered England communicated in English hence greatly influencing it. Although they moved on to become French speakers, this did not affect the spread of English among the remaining Britons
Today, the global nature of English exhibits in different ways. From trade to international relations to politics, people have found English the easiest and effective language of communication. As Jacques notes, even in international conventions like those of United Nations the delegates use English as the common language of communication. In case, the speaker does not know how to communicate in English, an expert awaits to translate the language into English5.
English language is the most common language in film, television and music industries. These industries have been the masterminds behind its global spread. In the internet, English has emerged as the most predominant language, and in some cases, some internet pages in other languages have an English version placed by the side. History reckons that the British Empire and the American popular culture are two great instruments that have influenced the global spread of English language. So far, English has become a neutral language of communication between people of different nationalities. For example, a person in Poland does not need to learn Japanese in order to communicate with friends in Japan. As an alternative, these persons can communicate in English without any communication barrier by employing it as a neutral language. Thus, English has not only become a global language, but also an avenue that bridges different cultures and language barriers. Many people believe that with time, English language will eradicate all communication limitations all over the planet.
Crystal, D, English as a global language, 2000. Web.
Jacques, M, English as the Global Language: Good for Business, Bad for Literature, 2010. Web.
Abbott, M, ‘Identifying reliable generalisations for spelling words: The importance of multilevel analysis’, The Elementary School Journal, vol. 101, no. 2, 2000, pp. 233–245.
Slight, J, Global Languages, 2009. Web.
Yong, Z & Keith, P, ‘English in China’, World Englishes, vol. 14, no.3, 1995, pp. 377–390.
- J. Slight, Global Languages, 2009. Web.
- Z. Yong & Keith P, ‘English in China’, World Englishes, vol. 14, no.3, 1995, pp. 377–390.
- M. Abbott, ‘Identifying reliable generalisations for spelling words: The importance of multilevel analysis’, The Elementary School Journal, vol. 101, no. 2, 2000, pp. 233–245.
- D. Crystal, English as a global language, 2000. Web.
- M. Jacques, English as the Global Language: Good for Business, Bad for Literature, 2010. Web.