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English as a Global Language In a modern society, all of us would
In a modern society, all of us would agree that we see the English language almost everywhere. From signposts to advertising boards, notices in public places or even a menu in a street-side caf', all we see is the English language. In this article, we will talk about the positive or negative side of English as a global language.
People see the spread of English as a process of globalisation, which started from the days of the British Empire where its colonies took up the English language as the official language by default. The older generations saw people in India, Malaysia starting to learn English with the help of missionaries. These were the people who would travel into the villages and spread the knowledge of Christianity by using English. Others saw it as 'a political process, all government officials and businessmen must be able to use English to communicate, to trade, for their own favours and profits.' (Spivak 2000) The language spread quickly across the British Empire as it has structures, which are easier to understand than other languages and soon the language become the world's most spoken language. Now, we see English also as a diplomatic language, the language of international cooperation. The European Union is a good example where currently there are 25 countries in the union and nearly all of them has English as a major language with increasing number of populations taking up English courses and the main reasons why they learn English are that they want to be able to communicate with their foreign colleagues at work or just to understand what they read or see on newspapers, television, etc. It can be said that the world in the twenty-first centuries are unified by the international media, businesses, all of which use the English language (Redman 2002)
The critics of English as a global language said that the globalisation of the language has destroyed the culture of some nations. It is argued that good traditions and values are destroyed by the western world who brings music and movies containing violence and 'inappropriate culture' into their countries (Baudrillard 2002) Children in many urban societies want to be those Americans who are dressed as rappers with expensive cars and possessing ammunitions because they see those image as being popular. They also will imitate the style of language used by those actors (Spivak 2000) As a result, we often hear children and teenagers speaking English mixed with their native language, some expressions are now in English and this is slowing causing the native language to become extinct as the western culture continues to dominate the world. Recently the Iranian president had banned the use of the words 'helicopter' , 'chat' and 'pizza' as a move to ban English as a de facto global language. The extreme of this problem is terrorism, some groups have claimed that the globalisation of English which is believed to be the main reasons why some of their cultures are 'poisoned' These people will use religion as a means to fight back against this 'western invasion' in order to drive out the cause of the 'social poison' that exists in their society (Kellner 2004)
In conclusion, I believe that English will continue to be the world's global and main language as there are currently more than 2 billion speakers worldwide, and what we will see more of, is the change in the language where non-native speakers are starting to establish their own words that are, funny enough, put into Oxford English Dictionary, to show that even though English has certainly penetrate borders of many countries, the cultures and the traditions are not destroyed. English will continue to evolve in many ways and soon there will be people who want to keep the original language and argue on the grounds of authenticity.
Reference: 1)Baudrillard, J. (2002). The violence of the global (F. Debrix, Trans.). Paris: Galilee.
2)Kellner, D. (2004). Globalization and the postmodern turn.
3)Redman, C. (2002, June 24). Wanna speak English' Time Magazine. p. 45. 4)Spivak, G. (2000). A critique of postcolonial reason. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.