English as a Global Language To many travelers there is no question
To many travelers there is no question of whether or not English is a global language. Most assume or expect to find English spoken in the country they are going to. As travelers we have experienced the globalization of English. There were English signs in the airports; English on the menus and in the restaurants; we've checked into hotels in English and purchased bus tickets using English. The tours and excursions we went on had English speaking guides and information sheets. We've watched American movies and chatted to locals about English speaking movie stars and famous artists/bands. We've listened to English music on the radio and in the bars. We've held broken English conversations with locals trying to practice their English and have spoken with many children in English. It seems that everywhere we went there would be someone who spoke or was learning English.
English originated in England and spread to the colonies and territories of the British Empire. After the Second World War, English spread to other cultures due to the increased economic and cultural influence of the United States. Although Mandarin Chinese has more native speakers, English has a much wider geographic distribution. This distribution is growing, as more education ministries around the world recognize the benefits of a working knowledge of English and require English to be taught to students. There are an estimated 150 million to 1 billion people who speak English as a second language.
By the sheer number of its speakers, English seems to be the language most likely to provide common ground to speakers of different native languages. According to aneki.com over 508 million people speak English, making it the second most common language in the world. As well, in his book 'English as a Global Language' David Crystal indicates that English is an official or second language in over seventy countries. Because of the opportunities it presents, it is not surprising that English is a commonly learned second language. In addition to opening the doors of communication, learning English also provides the opportunity to enjoy the blockbuster movies, TV shows and music of the American entertainment industry. As entertainment is an important aspect of people's recreational lives, exposure to English entertainment can speed up the learning process and make it more enjoyable. For those who have already learned English, the entertainment industry is another benefit they will encounter.
One of the most visible aspects of English as a global language is the tourism industry. A large majority of travelers are English speakers and expect to be catered to in English. This involves everything from hotels and restaurants to tour companies and transportation. Therefore, English plays a major role for the businesses associated with these areas. People wishing to work in tourism or move up in their current company find that speaking English greatly contributes to their success. As well many travelers are now visiting foreign countries for non-tourism business reasons. These would include science and computer related fields among others. As companies become globalized employees travel for conferences and meetings and/or learn the language of the parent company/head office. It is obvious that tourism and business travel are closely related powers behind English as a global language.
1)http://aneki.com/languages.html 2)http://aneki.com/english.html 3)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language
1)'English as a Global Language' by David Crystal, Cambridge University Press, copyright 1997, 2003
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