Teach English in Jiantou Zhen - Yongzhou Shi

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What is a global language? There is no exact definition of global language but it “refers to a language that is learned and spoken internationally, and is characterized not only by the number of its native and second language speakers, but also by its geographical distribution, and its use in international organizations and in diplomatic relations” (Mastin). According to statistics by Waltner, “Chinese (Mandarin) is the most spoken language in the world with 1.3 billion native speakers”. You would be surprised to know that English however, ranks at number 3 in the most spoken languages in the world right after Spanish, with 379 million people having it as their native language (Waltner). On the other hand, when taking into account the total number of speakers who speak English in the world, English ranks as number 1 as more than 146 countries have it as their second language and many people are learning English nowadays (Waltner). English first started to become widespread through colonialism by the British in the 16th century. British influence was already ingrained into the countries they had colonized “with the language thoroughly institutionalized in their courts, parliament, civil service, schools and higher education establishments” (Mastin). When this happened those countries decided to keep English as their first language and some of which we are very familiar with today The United States of America, parts of Canada and some of the West Indian islands have English as their official language. Not only did the British colonize those western countries but they also colonized Oceania. Some Oceanic countries have also kept English as their official language, these include Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. However, the factor that has really pushed English even more into the spotlight is globalization. Globalization “is the spread of products, technology, information, and jobs across national borders and cultures. In economic terms, it describes an interdependence of nations around the globe fostered through free trade” (Bird and Kopp). In order to get onto the global stage many companies use English in their marketing strategies to attract more attention. They may sometimes hire an external English speaking marketer to create their commercials or they may even pay to train their staff to learn English marketing strategies. Apart from purposes of marketing, companies may also pay for their staff to learn English for work purposes. For example, if they work in a service industry such as tourism; knowing English will be a great asset. Promoting English in non-native English speaking countries is also a way to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) (Ricento, 3). In addition, some employees may want to learn English for promotion opportunities or to work in a foreign branch. Many people also learn English to get jobs abroad. For example, international organizations such as the United Nations have English as one of their official languages while there are some international organizations like the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations who only use English (Mastin). Having English as a first or second language can help increase the chances of getting a job at one of these organizations. However, the solidification of the English language really came along due to “American economic and cultural supremacy - in music, film and television; business and finance; computing, information technology and the Internet; even drugs and pornography” (Mastin). These products are watched and played around the world no matter if the country speaks English or not. For example, Marvel movies are shown all across the world and have racked up millions of dollars. People enjoy watching and listening to English films and songs. Therefore, some people learn English as a hobby or for entertainment purposes. They want to be able to watch a movie without subtitles or listen to a song and understand the lyrics. In addition, many resources are in English and even when they are not produced in English they may be translated to English. Books, articles and other sources tend to be available in English than any other language. Additionally, in many countries you can see signs in both the native tongue and English even though these countries themselves do not speak it. This is because English is considered a lingua franca which according to Mufwene is “language used as a means of communication between populations speaking vernaculars that are not mutually intelligible.” So English is used as a means of communicating with people who do not understand each other's spoken language, as a result signs are written in both languages. This can be very helpful to visitors and tourists who are more likely to be familiar with English than another language. “English has a tolerance that other languages lack, adding new words at a faster rate than any other, which is perhaps why it is so widely used today” (Takuhama-Espinosa, 191). Takuhama also stated that English borrows words from other languages and is able to create new words to suit itself. English is known for having many borrowed terms from other languages which can make learning English easier if the learner speaks a similar language to English. All romance languages have some words, grammar, vocabulary and the alphabet in common and it can be argued that those who speak languages such as Spanish, French and Portuguese will be able to learn English faster because of these similarities. Furthermore, adding to the fact that not only does English dominate the economy, entertainment and other resources it is also fueled by the teaching of it at schools throughout the world. Many countries worldwide teach their students English as a second language. While English’s importance within a social context can be questioned many societies help enforce its significance by making students study English at school as part of their curriculum. English has transformed throughout the centuries from a colonial language to one that is spoken by one of the world’s leading countries that would later go on to influence the global economy, society, culture, education and perspective of languages in the whole world. English can definitely be considered as a global language as a result of these impacts. Works Cited “Globalization.” Edited by Beverly Bird and Carol Kopp, Investopedia, Investopedia, 9 May 2019, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/globalization.asp. Mastin, Luke. “English as a Global Language.” The History of English, 2011, https://www.thehistoryofenglish.com/issues_global.html. Mufwene, Salikoko Sangol. “Lingua Franca.” Encyclopædia Britannica . Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., August 12, 2010. https://www.britannica.com/topic/lingua-franca. Ricento, Thomas, editor. Language Policy and Political Economy: English in a Global Context. Oxford University Press, 2015. Takuhama-Espinosa, Tracey, editor. The Multilingual Mind: Issues Discussed By, For, and about People Living with Many Languages. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003. Waltner, Alex. “Most Spoken Languages in the World.” Swedish Nomad, 12 Jan. 2019, https://www.swedishnomad.com/most-spoken-languages-in-the-world/.