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English as a Global Language Progressively, over the last century,
Progressively, over the last century, English has become the global language. In fact, the phrase 'Global English' has been coined, denoting the 'growing use of the English language around the world' (Buttigieg, abstract).
There are many reasons why English has become the principal language of global communication. Some analysts cite the end of the Second World War as the beginning of the adoption of English as the global language 'for business, for technology for medicine and (some argue) for diplomacy' (Egan and Farley 56), as well as international military communications (Wylie Para. 4). Many agree that the rapid advancement of 'high technology markets' (Egan and Farley 56), mainly the internet (Wylie Para. 8), along with 'colonial expansion and economic globalisation' (Wylie Para. 8), has promoted English to its globally recognized, and valued, level.
The English language's status of global domination has been marked by numerous world-wide statistics. Currently, close to 1.5 billion people speak English and, according to the UN, more people speak it as second language than as a first (Wylie Para. 2). The British council projects that, by 2015, half the world's population will be either speaking or learning English (Wylie Para. 6).
A person in the non-English speaking world who is proficient in the English language is granted more opportunities and has access to better jobs and higher salaries (Egan and Farley 56). This assertion is best exemplified in India and China. Remarkably, the largest population of English speakers reside in India (Egan and Farley 65) ' the total number being larger than the combined populations 'of the UK, US Australia, New Zealand and South Africa' (Wylie Para. 5). In China, the number of children studying English is larger than the entire population of the British Isles and passing a basic English test is a prerequisite for graduating from University (Wylie Para. 6). Moreover, in light of the upcoming 2008 Olympics, even Chinese taxi drivers are required to learn English if they want to retain their licenses (Wylie Para. 6).
With all of these notable facts and statistics, it comes as no surprise that English language training is a major global business. There are 'thousands of schools, language programs and tutorial services' (Egan and Farley 56) in both English speaking and non- English speaking countries worldwide. In fact, 'teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is one of the oldest commercialised education sectors', dating back to 1878 (Wylie Para. 9). Currently, EFL students have the option to travel abroad to study in countries where English is either the first or second official language (Wylie Para 18). Many EFL students are studying in their native (non- English speaking) countries through a variety of institutions, instructed by EFL teachers. An EFL teacher is commonly 'a native- English speaker from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia, with a college degree' (Egan and Farley 56). With such a high, globalisation-driven demand for English speaking employees world-wide and future projections for the size of the world's English speaking population, it is fitting that English language training has been recognized as 'one of the motors of globalisation and a multi-billion dollar industry' (Wylie Para. 3). It also comes as no surprise that the demand for EFL teachers is equally important ' 'there's a dire need for good EFL teachers in the world, we simply can't get enough' (Bill Fisher, president of Englishtown as qtd. in Egan and Farley 59).
Buttigieg, Joseph A. 'Teaching English and developing a critical knowledge or the global.'Boundary 2. 26.2 (1999): 45-58 Egan, David and Farley Sean. 'The Many Opportunities of EFL Training.' T+D. 58.1 (2004): 54-61. Wylie, Ian. 'WORLD CLASS: English as a global business.' Management Today. February, 2006: 56-60.