english as a global languageWhat is a global language?
In his book english as a Global Language, Crystal (1997) asserts, “A language achieves a genuinely global status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country” (p. 2). The definition hinges on the special role, which Crystal describes as serving as the native language of the majority (such as english does in the united states
or Australia), serving as the official language, or achieving the status of the priority foreign language (i.e., the foreign language of choice for children
). Crystal’s analysis offers some criteria by which TESOL professionals can begin to interpret the global status of the english language and english language education, observed through its use as the language of business, technology, science, the Internet, popular entertainment, and even sports.
Beyond the criteria of native language, official language, and priority foreign language, it is difficult to quantify the proportional use of english versus other languages in everyday life. Nevertheless, applied
linguists have provided some data. In academic contexts, Swales (1987) estimated that more than 50% of the millions of academic papers published each year are written in english, and the percentage was growing year by year. english is currently the undisputed language of science and technology, and scientific journals in many countries are now switching from the vernacular to english. In specific disciplines, english appears to be the universal language of communication. For example, 98% of German physicists now claim english as their de facto working language. They are closely followed by chemists (83%), biologists (81%), and psychologists (81%).
english language where did it come from?
english is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands. Initially, Old english was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of england
. One of these dialects, Late West Saxon, eventually came to dominate.
english changed enormously in the middle Ages. Written Old english of 1000 AD is similar in vocabulary and grammar to other old Germanic languages such as Old High German and Old Norse, and completely unintelligible to modern speakers, while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle english of 1400 AD. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family, who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries; the second by the french Normans in the 11th century, who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an english variety of this called Anglo-Norman. About 60% of the modern english vocabulary comes direct from Old french.
Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of english. However, this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD, where Old english was developed into a fully-fledged literary language. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066, and when literary english rose anew in the 13th century, it was based on the speech of London, much closer to the centre of Scandinavian settlement. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old french, with heavy influence from Norman french in the courts and government. With the coming of the Renaissance, as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch, Latin and Ancient greek supplanted french as the main source of new words. Thus, english developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary.
The British Empire was then responsible for the spread of the english language throughout the world and has left its mark in many of the old commonwealth countries. Throughout the world english is used more and more every day.
So as you can see english is a global language for lots of reasons apart from the fact it is used in so many countries the fact that it is derived from so many different languages and sources makes it truly global.