English as a global language is that it is spoken by those who wield power
People often talk about English as a global language or lingua franca. With more than 350 million people around the world speaking English as a first language and more than 430 million speaking it as a second language, there are English speakers in most countries around the world. Why is English so popular, though? And why has it become a global language?
People often call English the international language of business, and it’s increasingly true as international trade expands every year, bringing new countries into contact. Many of the best MBA programs are taught in English, so speaking it well can put you in a position to get the best training and credentials. Most multinational companies require a certain degree of English proficiency from potential employees so in order to get a position with a top company, more and people are learning English.
There is no official definition of "global" or "world" language, but it essentially refers to a language that is learned and spoken internationally, and is characterized not only by the number of its native and second language speakers, but also by its geographical distribution, and its use in international organizations and in diplomatic relations. A global language acts as a “lingua franca”, a common language that enables people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities to communicate on a more or less equitable basis.
Historically, the essential factor for the establishment of a global language is that it is spoken by those who wield power. Latin was the lingua franca of its time, although it was only ever a minority language within the Roman Empire as a whole. Crucially, though, it was the language of the powerful leaders and administrators and of the Roman military - and, later, of the ecclesiastical power of the Roman Catholic Church - and this is what drove its rise to (arguably) global language status. Thus, language can be said to have no independent existence of its own, and a particular language only dominates when its speakers dominate (and, by extension, fails when the people who speak it fail).
It is often argued that the modern “global village” needs a “global language”, and that (particularly in a world of modern communications, globalized trade and easy international travel) a single lingua franca has never been more important. With the advent since 1945 of large international bodies such as the United Nations and its various offshoots - the UN now has over 50 different agencies and programs from the World Bank, World Health Organization and UNICEF to more obscure arms like the Universal Postal Union - as well as collective organizations such as the Commonwealth and the European Union, the pressure to establish a worldwide lingua franca has never been greater. As just one example of why a lingua franca is useful, consider that up to one-third of the administration costs of the European Community is taken up by translations into the various member languages.
While its advantages are self-evident, there are some legitimate concerns that a dominant global language could also have some built-in drawbacks. Among these may be the following:
There is a risk that the increased adoption of a global language may lead to the weakening and eventually the disappearance of some minority languages (and, ultimately, it is feared, ALL other languages). It is estimated that up to 80% of the world’s 6,000 or so living languages may die out within the next century, and some commentators believe that a too-dominant global language may be a major contributing factor in this trend. However, it seem likely that this is really only a direct threat in areas where the global language is the natural first language (e.g. North America, Australia, Celtic parts of Britain, etc). Conversely, there is also some evidence that the very threat of subjugation by a dominant language can actually galvanize and strengthen movements to support and protect minority languages (e.g. Welsh in Wales, French in Canada).
As can be seen in more detail in the section on English Today, on almost any basis, English is the nearest thing there has ever been to a global language. Its worldwide reach is much greater than anything achieved historically by Latin or French, and there has never been a language as widely spoken as English. Many would reasonably claim that, in the fields of business, academics, science, computing, education, transportation, politics and entertainment, English is already established as the de facto lingua franca.
The UN, the nearest thing we have, or have ever had, to a global community, currently uses five official languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese, and an estimated 85% of international organizations have English as at least one of their official languages (French comes next with less than 50%). Even more starkly, though, about one third of international organizations (including OPEC, EFTA and ASEAN) use English only, and this figure rises to almost 90% among Asian international organizations.
Some have also argued that there are other intrinsic features of the English language that set it apart, and make it an appropriate choice as a global language, and it may be worthwhile investigating some of these claims:
The richness and depth of English's vocabulary sets it apart from other languages. The 1989 revised "Oxford English Dictionary" lists 615,000 words in 20 volumes, officially the world’s largest dictionary. If technical and scientific words were to be included, the total would rise to well over a million. By some estimates, the English lexicon is currently increasing by over 8,500 words a year, although other estimates put this as high as 15,000 to 20,000. It is estimated that about 200,000 English words are in common use, as compared to 184,000 in German, and mere 100,000 in French. The availability of large numbers of synonyms allows shades of distinction that are just not available to non-English speakers and, although other languages have books of synonyms, none has anything on quite the scale of "Roget’s Thesaurus". Add to this the wealth of English idioms and phrases, and the available material with which to express meaning is truly prodigious, whether the intention is poetry, business or just everyday conversation.
Although English currently appears to be in an unassailable position in the modern world, its future as a global language is not necessarily assured. In the Middle Ages, Latin seemed forever set as the language of education and culture, as did French in the 18th Century. But circumstances change, and there are several factors which might precipitate such a change once again.
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.
Today an estimated 1.5 billion human beings speak to each other in English, whether as a native, second or a foreign language. (Anthony 2OO2; 1, 2) English has truly become a global language. English also composes the majority of the world's books, academic papers, newspapers, and magazines. Never before in human history has one language been spoken (let alone semi-spoken) so widely and by so many. (Fishman 1998, 26) The forces that have brought about the dominance of English as the current global language will be discussed below. Particular attention will be paid to the influence of history, as well as, cultural, technological, economic and social factors in contributing to the spread of English across the globe, specifically its' accent and structural features, The structural features that have helped English become the language of internationaI communication as well as possible future influences on the phonology and morphology of global English will also be briefly examined.
Today the dominant view of English as a global language emphasizes the range of its varieties operating as an interconnected system. These settings are, of course, widely distributed across the globe and there are quite a few varieties.
Types of World English
- Australian English
- British English
- Canadian English
- Caribbean English Hong Kong English lndian English lrish English
- Malaysian English
- New Zealand English
- Nigerian English
- Philippine English
- Scots English
- Singaporean English
- South African English
- U S English
- Zambian English (Gilsdorf 2A02; 367, 368)
The important features of English are hybridity and permeability, which have helped it to expand quickly as a world language. Simply speaking, English is adaptable and flexible. Since many Asian speakers find the consonant clusters at ends of some English words (e.g., "texts? With -its /-ksts/) very hard to pronounce (Gilsdorf 2002; 372) they, therefore, tend to pronounce those sounds in their own particular manner. (Jenkins 2000: 94) For instance, Dutch speakers of English do not make enough use of phrases such as “please” and “thank you”. They also have problems with English intonation, since Dutch intonation is much flatter. (Booij 200l, 353) As a result, global English is characterized by having no single correct accent or pronunciation standard, except in specialized areas, i.e., sea transport, air travel, etc.
Most people consider English to be a global language because it is the one language that is spoken and understood by the majority of the population in almost every region of the world. What is a global language? While there is no official definition, it refers to a language that is learned and spoken internationally by native and second language speakers (Mastin, 2011). There are approximately 360 million native English speakers and almost twice as many speaking it as a second language, making English one of the topmost spoken languages in the world (Klappenbach, 2019). English is undoubtedly in just about every sector whether it is in education, medicine, business, technology, tourism, communication, and so on. It is perhaps this worldwide acceptance and usage of the English language that propels it as an extremely essential global language.
This project aims to show us why the English known as a global language and why other languages do not have this ability. Also introduce some other languages such as Chinese that can be replaced with English and their capability of being a global one.
Key words: english , global , language , capability.
We all are able to communicate freely with one language to people all around the world. A single language would help to reduce misunderstanding and miscommunication. People will need to learn this one world language, whichever that may be, but we will also never forget older languages completely. It means that we can use both of them at same time for the several reasons. We use our mother tongue in our country (home town) and use second language (global language) for communicate with people that don’t know anything about our mother tongue or for some other reason like job, travel, migration and …. .
A language is called a “global language” when it achieves the official position and education preference in every nation, that language will finally come to be used by more people than any other language. The essential reason to make a language global or international is the power of its people. The power includes the power of military, politic and economic. Military power, political power and economic power are the three essential factors to make a language global and to keep its status (Culpepper, 1997).
When a new language is introduced to new communities, and a new better life is achieved by the new language, it makes people prefer to use the language than their own language. In turn, the low frequency of using particular language may cause the language to disappear. This was true when English was introduced to academic life (Kaplan, 2000). If the language is no longer the key in communication, it will not live anymore. People will forget it.
English is the international language of business and people need to speak English if they wish to enter a global workforce. Learning English will increase your chances of getting hired and provide you with greater opportunities to further your career. With each day that passes by, more and more companies all over the world are now mandating English as the official corporate language. For example, in some of the agile courses, I recently took, one of the examples we looked at our call centers. Most of these customer service representatives are based in foreign countries such as India, the Philippines, and so on. Reason being that many IT firms outsource to specialize in their IT departments as they can benefit from the added skills and knowledge. As part of the Agile & Scrum society, there are meetings I must attend that are held worldwide. These meetings are all given in English regardless of the country that is hosting this event. I can only imagine this is how it will be once I begin my TEFL journey and I am allowed to teach a multilingual class where students from different ethnicities and backgrounds come together to communicate in one language. I am currently in the process of applying for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Through my search of potential universities, not only in the US but also in Europe, I’ve learned that many of the best MBA programs are taught in English. From this, we can assume that English opens doors in the academic world, and students who speak English well can receive the best training and credentials to progress not only in their careers but also throughout life in general. This demonstrates just how far the English language has cemented its place as an international language.
English is an important and useful language to know when traveling. Speaking English enhances your traveling experience in a multitude of ways. Not only will you be able to speak English with native English speakers, but you will also be able to communicate with travelers from other countries and enjoy a greater sense of independence. This will allow you to learn about new cultures, meet new people, and build everlasting friendships from all around the world. Being able to communicate in English facilitates traveling in many ways possible, whether it is for booking, ordering food, asking for directions, etc. While traveling in India, I took tours in both English and Spanish. I noticed that the English tours offered more than Spanish tours. I recall having to translate for a Spanish speaking tourist while traveling in Egypt and also asking for directions when I got lost in Amsterdam! Regardless of the country, you are traveling into, notice that all flight crew, the majority of cruise line workers, and airport staff speak English. The advantages of being able to communicate in English are endless.
English gives you access to entertainment, media, and the internet world. Most of the top films and music are produced in English while popular books are published also in English. I can relate to this in numerous ways. I have friends in France who speak very little English but can easily recite the lyrics to famous English songs. Similarly, while I was teaching English as part of my volunteer work in Central America, I would often utilize teaching aids such as the radio, movies, and so forth since most of my students had already been exposed to these English sources. Additionally, on all of my visits to movie theaters in foreign countries, I keenly remember that I've always had the option of watching my desired movie in English, which luckily also happened to be the cheaper option. The internet is a valuable tool we use daily and English is the language of the internet, as you may have noticed most websites we visit are often displayed in the English language. English also plays a huge part in the news media. Journalists and writers around the world are now making it a priority to speak good English as they find this to be an indispensable skill to have in their careers. The English language makes it possible for us to stay connected with everything going on in the world around us today.
1-Some people may disagree that “English is the world’s most important language.” It is definitely the world’s most widely used language. It is spoken by a number of people 800,000,000 by a conservative appraise 1,500,000,000 by a liberal appraise. It has official status in over 60 countries. 150 million people use English fluently as a foreign language. English is also the language of international air traffic control, and the principal language of world publishing, science and technology (Crystal 2001).
2- In the postcolonial world, English is often used outside the domestic area, discussions of the links between English and Anglo culture may even seem repulsive. Speakers of English—in Britain, the United States, and elsewhere—discussions of possible links between English and Anglo culture may also seem to be best avoided (Quirk et al. 1985).
3- English is also important in business. 84% of companies want English as a foreign language; only 32% require French (Felberbauer 1996). In the Austrian job market, English is pay heed to as a basic qualification; therefore not knowing English may be a conclusive deficit. In Austrian businesses which operate internationally the internal use of English is not so much a feature as it is in Scandinavia (Dension 1981).
According to research conducted by Stockinger, secretaries, for instance, are expected to be able to hold telephone conversations in English while technicians have to be able to read technical literature in English (Stockinger 1995).
English may not be spoken language in the worlds, but it is an official language in a large number of countries. It also very important for whom works in global workforce because English is the language of business in world, so it had become necessary for people to speak English.
Another reason for learning English is that many of the world’s top films, music and books are published and produced in English. Therefore by learning English, you will be able to have a great understanding.
In 2006 it was stated in "English Worldwide", a book by Professor David Crystal, that there were approximately 400 million native speakers of English. In addition, Crystal said that there were 400 million speakers of English as a second language.
Furthermore, there were around 600 - 700 million English as a foreign language speakers. So, that's clearly over 1 billion people that could communicate in English to some extent. Those figures are also almost 10 years old, so we can surely say that those numbers of speakers have grown in the last decade.
So, how many people speak English in the world in 2015? We can estimate that there are definitely above 1.5 billion speakers of English globally.
In 2015, out of the total 195 countries in the world, 67 nations have English as the primary language of 'official status'. Plus there are also 27 countries where English is spoken as a secondary 'official' language.
The English language has approximately 400 million native speakers worldwide, trailing only Mandarin and Spanish. However, it is also the single most popular second language. As a result, when native and non-native English speakers are combined, it is recognized as the single most widely-spoken global language.
In fact, English is recognized as an official language in a total of 67 different countries, as well as 27 non-sovereign entities. Moreover, it is a major business language, as well as the official language of a number of the world’s most important institutions, including the United Nations, NATO and the European Union.
English is perhaps most commonly associated with the United States and the United Kingdom; the two largest English speaking countries. It is believed that there are around 230 million native speakers in the United States, making it the largest English-speaking country, while the United Kingdom has approximately 60 million native speakers.
Despite having two different official languages, Canada has the third largest English-speaking population, with somewhere in the region of 20 million native speakers, while Australia is next in the list, with around 17 million.
Some of the other notable countries around the world where English is the primary language include the Republic of Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand. Combined, these three countries are believed to be home to around 13 million people who speak English as their first language.
According to the British government, the countries with a majority of native English speakers are as follows: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The list of countries where English is legally an official language is actually much longer: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, the Cook Islands, Dominica, Eswatini, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Out of the world’s approximately 7.8 billion inhabitants, 1.35 billion speak English. The majority aren’t native English speakers, however. About 360 million people speak English as their first language. The most common first language is Chinese, followed distantly by Spanish and then, in third, comes English. In addition to being widely spoken, English is by far the most commonly studied foreign language in the world, followed by French at a distant second.
English is spread out throughout the Americas, making it hard to tabulate exactly, but it is likely somewhere around 350 million. The majority of those native English speakers live in the United States — about 297.4 million of them. Another 30 million native English speakers reside in Canada. Although a number of countries in the Caribbean have English listed as an official language, it’s largely a remnant of colonialism and the majority of the population does not speak standard English.
In South America and Central America, about 14 million people speak English. The vast majority of these speakers live in Argentina (5.9 million), Colombia (2 million), Chile (1.97 million) and Puerto Rico (1.6 million). There are pockets of English speakers spread throughout, however.
Europe is home to roughly 212 million English speakers, and nearly every country in the continent has a sizable population. As mentioned, English is often used as a lingua franca between people who don’t necessarily speak it as a first language, and nowhere is that truer than in Europe.
In the United Kingdom, where English started all those centuries ago, there are about 60 million English speakers. This breaks down to 49.8 million speakers in England and Wales, 5.1 million in Scotland and 1.7 million in Northern Island.
After the United Kingdom, Germany has the most English speakers with 45.8 million. This is followed by France (25.4 million) and Italy (20.7 million). The majority of these speakers aren’t native speakers, however. Germany, for example, only has about 240,000 native English speakers.
As in the Caribbean, a number of African countries have English as an official language because of colonialism. In all of Africa — a population of about 1.2 billion — only 6.5 million people speak English as their native language. But following the pattern of a number of other continents, a number of Africans have learned English as a second language. Around 237 million people in Africa speak English in total (including native and non-native speakers).
The greatest number of English speakers are in Nigeria, where there are about 111 million people who speak at least some of the language. Nigeria is followed by Uganda (29 million), South Africa (16 million) and Cameroon (9.8 million).
Asia has relatively few native English speakers, but a large number of people speak English as a second or foreign language. While it’s difficult to say exactly how many people speak English across the vast continent of Asia, Ethnologue estimates it to be around 460 million.
India — colonized by the United Kingdom until the mid-20th century — has by far the most speakers, with around 265 million speakers of English. And that’s followed by the Philippines (50 million), Bangladesh (29 million) and Pakistan (25 million).
Across Oceania, there are over 30 million English speakers. The majority of Australians are native speakers, with about 22.2 million in total. In New Zealand, there are approximately 4 million English speakers (most New Zealanders speak a dialect of English known as New Zealand English). Papua New Guinea adds another 3.2 million English speakers, and Fiji has 200,000.
The sheer volume of people who speak English make it a very popular choice around the world. In many countries around the world, English is the most obvious choice for a second language. There are of course drawbacks to English’s status as a lingua franca — including the fact that it gives an advantage to people born in predominantly English-speaking countries — but it’s undeniably a useful took that is ever-present in the worlds of business, entertainment, science and more.
The arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain is usually considered the beginning of the English language’s spread. The language changed when Norse invaders brought several new words, which were added into daily speech. English began to borrow some words from French and Latin.
During the Medieval period, English started to become more standardized. As London grew, other dialects of English began to fade or merge into what we think of as English today.