english as a global languageDuring my trips around the world the question I’ve asked the most was ‘Do you speak english?’. And it didn’t matter if I was in Oslo exploring their breathtaking landscapes, on St. Mark Square in Italy, in Marocco, or while trying to take the train in Germany, there always were somebody around who would answer ‘ Yes, I do!’. I imagine that the same response I would get by the Great Wall of China, or Taj Mahal in India. english – you can hear it everywhere! Even L.L.Zamenhofs creation of politically neutral, easy to learn language like Esperanto has turned more or less into fiasco. Only small percentage, an estimated 10,000 – 2 million people is using it. So, no disrespect, but english rule!
According to British Council:
375 mln people around the world is using english as a mother language, following are 375 mln who is using english as a second language, and around 750mln people is using english as a foreign language.
english is used in Internet by 29.5% people, after is chinese with 14.3%
2/3 world best universities are in english speaking countries.
Approximately two milliard people would be learning english in the next 10-15 years!
Interestingly but not surprisingly, english is the language of navigation and aviation.
Of the 163 member nations of the UN, more use english as their official language than any other.
We have to recognize that english is no longer the property of its L1 speakers. The evolution of the english language is occurring at an alarming rate. With the blending of cultures and religions and the advent of new technology, such as cell phones, and global messaging software, the basic core of the language is beginning to change.
According to Svartvik and Leech (2006): english benefited from three overlapping eras of world history. The first era was the imperial expansion of European powers that spread the use of english as well as of other languages, like spanish
, french and Portuguese around the world. The second is the era of technological revolution, beginning with the industrial revolution in which the english-speaking nations of Britain and united states
took a leading part, and the later electronic revolution, lead above all by the USA. The third is the era of globalization. (p.227)
The mentioned three eras are pertinent to one another, for example, the second era namely the electronic revolution has introduced the Internet. Now not only more than half of the world’s technical and scientific periodicals are in english, but english is the medium for 80% of the information stored in the world’s computers. Internet technology including e-mail,e-commerce,e-business and other e-activities support the third – globalization era. Further development of the globalization era leads to the commonness of english in several fields such as science, technology and world trade.
-An International Language-
english is learnt as the principal foreign language in the schools
in Western Europe. Nevertheless, it is also essential to the curriculums in countries like Japan and South Korea, and is increasingly seen as desirable by millions speakers in China. We are observing that UK does not have perceived the “ownership” of the language no more. Increasing power of the USA and its influence in pop culture has made an American english as reference point for the learners of english in places like Japan, and even in European countries. British english remains the model in commonwealth countries where english is learnt as a second language. However the situation may not last. The increasing commercial and economic power of countries like India, for example, might mean that indian english will one day begin to have as impact beyond its own borders.
-Pop Culture Globalizirung – Slang-
Like it or not, slang is here to stay. As Henry David Thoreau said already a hundred years ago” It is too late to be studying Hebrew, it is more important to understand the slang of today”.
Slang- shortened versions of words are becoming universally accepted. Some of this is likely to be just trend or fashion, but with all new emphasis on speed and transfer the data, many of these new word forms will be permanent additions to the global dialect. ‘Fast food’ is pushing out french dishes; ‘cool’ has its place in the dictionary. Should we use slang?
This global language has no societal boundaries or limitations as it can exist in all cultures and classes of society. Slang is “language which takes of its coat, spits on its hands—and goes to work” (Carl Sandburg as quoted in Crystal 182), or as John Algeo, University of Georgia professor said, “Slang is humanity’s first play toy”.
The nature of english language is what has allowed it to become globally accepted. With new corners of the world becoming more literate, and many of the teacher using english as their teaching language in primary, secondary and tertiary education, its incorporation can only strengthen and thrive.
It is generally agreed that english is – and will remain a Global Language. However, spoken by non-native speakers it is likely to change into a number of dialects that may eventually have to be learned by native english speakers, if they are to participate in world trade.