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English as Global Langauge - Essay Example

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English as Global Langauge

Before examining these pros and cons, it might be useful to examine how English came to be one of the most commonly used languages in the world. Historically, this language came into Britain from northern Europe during the fifth century and moved to the Asian, African and American continents with the expeditions and colonizations that followed in the last three centuries. English was left behind as a legacy in the colonized countries as they became independent nations, and was often made the official language of communication.
With the rise of technology, especially the media in the form of the radio, television and the internet, the dissemination of English became reinforced. Not only the media but trade became truly globalized with the rise of off-shoring and outsourcing made possible with better technology . The rise of multinational companies and corporations and international organizations like UNESCO enhanced the need of a global language. English was there to readily fill in the gap, with its already existing spread and flexibility.
Since English was already present in various places like India and Africa as a result of former colonization, it was easier for the language to spread further. English has been touted time and again as a language that could successfully eliminate the need for translation during communication in business, political, and cultural contexts. It has a huge vocabulary of more than 80,000 words which makes it very expressive, and the written script is similar to that of many European languages because of a common origin in Latin.

But the increasing use of English in countries with different native languages has an effect of diminishing the status of these indigenous languages. This is even more significant given the history of the English language which was earlier seen as a symbol of colonial oppression in many countries, and is seen today in many countries as a demonstration of the superiority of the West. In some quarters it is felt that the use of English as an official language instead of a native tongue is detrimental to a country's national and cultural identity.

Due to its global nature in an increasingly shrinking world, English is fast becoming the language of commercial and formal communications . This makes it an economically viable language to learn in many developing countries where knowing fluent English can actually lead to increased earning opportunities. This strong economic incentive behind learning English could lead to the relinquishment of native tongues, leading to entire languages dying out.

Another factor that could cause a language to decline is a decline in its literature. There is a growing trend of non-native authors writing in English: Indian or African writers writing in English are becoming quite common. It is a well-documented fact that all authors with very few exceptions have their best literary output in one language alone. If most literature begins to be produced in English, even by authors who have a different mother tongue, it would be a great loss to their original languages.

When languages decline, they take with them rare and precious cultural traditions. This raises fears of loss of cultural diversity which is so vital to the evolution of mankind. Experts think that a uniform world where all cultures and literatures would be similar could become a future scenario ...Show more


In the twenty-first century one sees an increasing prevalence of the English language. So much so that it is one of the five languages most spoken in the world: it is present on all the continents either as a native, second or third language. About 500 million to a billion people are estimated English speakers today either as a first or second language…
Author : verdiegoodwin
English as Global Langauge essay example
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