English as a Global Language In today?s world the term ?global?


In today's world the term 'global' takes on an entirely new meaning. Initially termed to mean in reference to the world as a whole, as opposed to individual countries, but today, while still holding true, it also means something more. The internet, modern media, email, and even to a lesser extend telephones, have made it possible to communicate with almost every person on the planet, a thought not even considered possible one hundred years ago.

People separated by thousands of miles have never been closer and it takes nothing more than a touch of a button. The French can talk to the United States of America, the Brazilian to the United Kingdom, Africa to Asia; you could probably even speak to someone studying in the Antarctic if you tried hard enough. Or at least these people could if they spoke the same language. In case you're wondering, they don't. Or at least most people don't. And in there lies the problem, how is it possible to communicate between countries, cultures and peoples if they don't understand each other's language.

English seems to have started solving this problem, if not unofficially. All across the world people, from countries where their native language isn't English, have begun to learn the English language. English has insinuated itself into cultures throughout the world, so much so that there is a growing trend among experts naming English as the global language. It's a little presumptuous I will agree, to assume that English should be considered the global language is even more presumptuous if you consider that the fact that only 400 million people world wide speak English as a native language. Spanish has just as many if not more native speakers but you don't hear Spanish being called the global language. Hindi, like Spanish also has as many native speakers, but it isn't a global language. Even Mandarin Chinese, which one would think had a greater claim to a global language in terms of native speakers' relative size, which has over 800 million natives speakers, isn't considered the global language. But for some reason current estimates show that 'almost 1.9 billion, almost quarter of the world's population' (Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language) have a basic proficiency in English. How can this be'

Sadly the answer is money, or at least economics, and power. English began in England, and ever since the foundation of the British Empire there has been a growing power in the lands controlled by English speaking people. First it was England and the imperial provinces controlled by the Empire, and as European dominance declined at the turn of the 19th Century the United States took relative control. And it has been under this American shadow that English has taken root in the countries of the world. Simple facts are that America is the richest and most powerful country in the world, all alliances aside. And if a country wants to compete on the world stage, whether in terms of politics or economics, chances are, sooner or later, they are going to have to deal with the United States. This state of the world has from there filtered down into the general people. If a person wants to succeed in business chances are they need to be in an international company and if the international company wants to succeed they will eventually need to have business with America or at the least a native speaking English country. And all this means that non native English speaking people have a need to speak English. And it is from this mindset that people have flocked to learning English. English is the language of the world economy, as arrogant as that sounds, and knowing English means a better job, better money, greater success. So with this trend in mind it isn't really that hard to see how English is quickly become a global language, if not the global language.

Bibliography

What is global English' - http://www.english.ucsb.edu/faculty/rraley/research/global- English.html

Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language

The Englishing of Earth -http://www.xefl.com/modules.php' name=News&file=article&sid=18

Global English - http://esl.about.com/library/weekly/aa030299.htm