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Spread of English - Essay Example

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For this reason, the explosion of English as lingua franca of globalization is considered a triumph for America. It amounts to a global conquest for American culture and way of life, considering that language serves not only as medium of communication but also as repository of national identity, culture and even body politic. In that sense, the American English that is sweeping the planet in lockstep with globalization also poses a threat to the competitiveness and cultures of UK, not to mention France, Germany, Spain and other European Union member-countries. It will destroy or at least marginalize much of local cultures (The Economist, 2001).
That this inexorable spread of English in its present form is a triumph benefiting no one else but the US is demonstrated by the increasing interest around the world in things American. Everyone has heard of the worldwide phenomenon called "McDonaldization," in which consumers swear by the same tastes for food and service. McDonald's is of course synonymous with America and as McDonald's stores saturate the planet and find enthusiastic acceptance everywhere, it promotes American values and culture and fortifies its position as a world power.
This global homogenization of consumer culture is only one indication of the growing predominance of America put on track by the spread of its brand of English. In 2004, a study called Research International Observer (RIO) was mounted to determine the extent by which US-made consumer goods have homogenized consumer tastes and needs around the world. The survey was held at a time when anti-American sentiment was especially strong because of perceived US intervention in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations. It was found that consumer goods that mirror American cultural values are in fact held in high esteem around the world although some may fault American politics and policy (Tait, 2004). A group of respondents in Panama, for example, agreed that however ugly America and its politics are, "all we care about are their brands." The Turkey respondents echoed the same view, saying "our political view has nothing to do with our behavior as consumers." At the rate this language-driven Americanization process is going on, Cohen (2006) and Graddol (2006) indicate that it is only a matter of time before American politics, warts and all, gains the same level of blind acceptance as all made-in-the-USA products.


There is no doubt that such spread of English has political underpinnings, the same way globalization was politically oriented when the rich and powerful nations first embarked on it over 100 years ago. At the start, globalization was called by another name, which was colonization (Thurow & Lessard, 2002). In the poorer countries, the colonizers sought gold mines, oil fields and raw materials that would enhance their wealth. Among the more active colonizing powers in the early days were England, America, France, and Spain. They occupied the poorer countries and effectively enlisted these colonies in the community of nations. In the process, the colonizing powers introduced their colonies to their respective languages to facilitate communication ...Show more


When the world started to consolidate into one Global Village in business, politics, education, publishing and other fields of human activity, it required a common medium of communication. The language of globalization that emerged was English, the American variety that, unlike its rather inflexible British lineage, is adaptable and quick to accommodate any new words…
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Spread of English essay example
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