English as a global language IntroductionThe number of people


The number of people teaching and studying English are increasing daily at phenomenal rates. This piques a curiosity to learn the reasons as to why there has been such a dramatic increase of the learning of this specific language.

The Importance of English as a global language

Surprisingly, English is not the most widely spoken language in the world in terms of the number of native speakers, for example there are many more Chinese speakers than native English speakers. However, Chinese is rarely spoken outside of Chinese Community, making English the most widely spoken language in the world. It is difficult to estimate how many English speakers there are (considering the daily increase in the number of English students) but according to an estimate there are approximately more than 350,000,000 native English speakers, 1,000,000,000 people learning it and more than 400,000,000 speakers of English as a second language (a language used in everyday life, even though it is not the native language) or foreign language (a language studied but not used much in everyday life).

Although these estimates seem impressive, they do not really indicate how important English is as a global language, because less than fifteen percent of the world population uses English. The importance of English is not just in the statistics (how many people speak it) but also for the worldwide purpose that English serves. English is the major language of science and news and information broadcasts. It is the language of business and government even in countries where it is not a native language. It is the language of maritime communication and international air traffic control and American popular culture mainly movies and music. Amazingly, there are about one billion websites on the internet and most of them are in English. Whatever the uses, English grabs the attention of the world.

English for News and Information

English is the most popular medium for the presentation of news and information. Eighty percent of all computer data are processed and stored in English. Much satellite communication is transmitted in English. There are more than ten thousand newspapers published around the world, more than half of these newspapers are published in English. English for Business English is the connecting language in international business. It is the language that an Israeli businessman and an Indian businessman are most likely to use to communicate- it is the common denominator of communication. English is also an official language of many international organizations, including the United Nations and many international charity organizations e.g. UNICEF or Red Cross.

English in communication and career

English enables us to communicate with people from all over the world, as it has become the common language for people who do not speak each other's native language. We are able to send e-mails, speak via telephone or send faxes to people all over the world. English is spoken in over one hundred countries, which makes it comfortable for travelers to communicate their needs in a common language that both parties can understand. Where career is concerned, English is an invaluable asset on every career person's CV- it gives more opportunity for international business interaction and can possibly further your career.


According to the statistics it can definitely be said that English is and will remain to be the most versatile and communicated language on our planet. Whether it is used in media, science, trading or otherwise, one thing is for sure- it is an integral part of the world as we know it'


1.The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. II, No. 4 : www.iteslj.org