English as a global language English has become the global language
English has become the global language of choice in this world. What other language can you easily find in any corner of the globe that you choose to travel' From Chile to Japan to Egypt to Russia and beyond English is the one language you can count on finding in your travels.
So how did English become the language of choice for the world' Are there more native English speakers than that of other languages' Is English the easiest language for non-native speakers to learn, or are other speakers in love with the language for its eloquence and grace'
The answer to the globalization of English is none of the above. A more astute answer would be to say that English, much like Microsoft Windows, was in the right place at the right time when standardization was badly needed due to the rapid increase of technological development in our society.
That concept will be explored later in the text. But first let's take a look at language and how it came to be in the society and civilization that we know as earth. No one knows for sure when spoken language started being used by our ancestors, but what is known is that the first ancestor with a fully developed larynx that allowed the full range of our articulated speech appeared about 30,000 years ago. After that the various languages of the world began to develop, eventually leading us to the many different languages and dialects that we have today.
English is a rather interesting language whose development began with a group of Germanic people called the Angeln. This tribe crossed the North Sea over 1500 years ago and displaced the Celts in Northern Britain. From there they merged with another group of people called the Saxons. The Saxons adopted the Angeln language, which comprises a lot of what we know as old English. Some of the words that have passed down from this language include brother, sister, for, but, love, and drink. The next group that influenced our present language was the Vikings. For about 100 years between 790 and 890 they raided and occupied various parts of England. Some of the words that we still use that are of Scandinavian origin include freckle, leg, skull, and sky.
The last great influence on the English language came from the Norman invasion in 1066. Strangely enough these people had adopted a rural dialect of French, so it was this language rather than their native Norse that they brought to England during their conquest of the region. Many of our words still have this influence, including jury, felony, traitor, and baron.
So these greatly varied cultures and languages merged together and forged a new language that has assumed a greater and greater influence and importance in our world with each passing year. English is the language that everyone wants to learn. Natives will approach you on the street in Beijing and beg you to spend some time practicing English with them. American pop music pours from the radio in Panama City or Moscow. The whole world seems to be obsessed with the western civilization. This is no doubt that this is one of the reasons that English is the language of choice. From movies to McDonalds to television its presence is a ubiquitous reminder of how our culture has pervaded and entranced almost an entire world.
So culture has an enormous influence on the globalization of the English language. But what about other factors that influence the spread of English' Business has become multinational, with almost every large corporation extending their reach into many different countries. This leads to a necessity for the various branches of these corporations to be able to communicate with each other with continuity and accuracy. The only way to do this is the use of one common language. English is the obvious choice because the largest corporations in the world are U.S. companies. The emergence of the United States after World War II as the first financial superpower has no doubt led to the adoption of the English as the language of choice for international business dealings.
So advances in technology have enabled other countries to more easily access our culture. Couple this with the placement of the United States as a global superpower, and it becomes apparent why English has become the most important language in the world.
Bibliography Bryson, Bill, THE MOTHER TONGUE English & How It Got That Way New York: William and Morrow and Company, 1990
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