English is rapidly becoming the dominant global language. If you want to reach a wide audience, it is a well-known fact that being able to write in English will get you further than writing in any other language. However the benefits of English being the dominant global language have been questioned by many. According to French researcher Jacques Melitz, working at the Centre de Recherch? en Economie et Statistique in Paris, there are grave concerns with this ever growing development.
He argues that English as a universal language in scientific based environments is extremely beneficial, as a straightforward understandable language needs to be created in a field that will not differ on a global scale. However when it comes to the more creative aspects of the language, such as literature, he sees potential risks with English rapidly evolving globally. In publishing for example, it is well-known that most translations from foreign languages will be made into English. Thus denying people the creativity of writers from other countries. As he states; "World literature will be an English literature." (Melitz, English-Language Dominance, Literature and Welfare,1999) Other languages are therefore not commercially viable. One could argue that on a cultural level the French have always been at war with the English when it comes to the importance of language. Many French do not speak English, and do not wish to learn the language as they view French as a dominant language. However the argument Melitz makes does hit home in the sense that English cuts off the opportunity for other language based writers to promote their creativity on a global scale. English being the dominant global language holds a firm benefit though, it can promote other foreign authors on a global scale through its own language, thus reaching a wide audience, however if native to English based authors remain a global selling point, this might not happen in the near future.
According to David Crystal, author of the book &acute;English as a global language&acute; English as a dominant language stems from British imperialism and the rise of the US economy after world war two. Chinese and Spanish could become a serious rival, however English is unstoppable in its rise to global monopolization. Perhaps the conclusion that Neil Reynolds draws in his article for the Canadian &acute;Globe and Mail&acute; stands to reason. "English is to language, as capitalism to economics". (Reynolds,The Globe and Mail 2006) It sustains us all as long as we understand it.
Author: Sharmin de Vries
Date of post: 2006-08-24