The Day the Planet Earth Speaks English
In Crystal (2003) the statement "English Rules" is said to present a scenario wherein the English language spreads continuously and becomes universal. This is a real possibility in the next century, as the technological and socio-economic developments are improving the quality of life and are enhancing the way we live and learn. The English language is well on its way to become the world’s first "lingua franca" if it has not already. It is said that a language achieves a genuinely global status once it has developed a special role that is recognized in every country across the planet. However, caution should be taken, as according to Crystal (2003) the special role has more than one meaning.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jonathan H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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Spread of English
This translates into the language being taken up by other countries around the world (Nations whom do not speak English natively) and it must be given a special place in their community (Being used in education, law, and legislation and by the media) and actively using the language in their day to day basis of living in that country (Crystal 2003). This spread in the language is caused by more than one factor, which will be explored in this essay. These are namely the effects of globalization and technological developments, which in turn will determine the adoption of English as a second or foreign language or not.
Globalization can be defined as the growth of sizes of social systems and the increase in complexity of intersocietal links. In other words it can be considered as different societies across the world becoming interconnected and interlinked through technological and telecommunications developments, allowing for the exchange of information, capital and goods across geographic, political, social and cultural boundaries which would have not been previously possible otherwise, if not for these advancements (Sheffield et al. 2013). Today it is possible for someone to learn a second language from the comfort of their own home, such as English.
The demand for such services has grown considerably over the past few decades, particularly in many Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Vietnam to mention a few. Opportunities for native English speakers to go and teach in these countries has increased tremendously over the last decade too. These demands are created by the desire to learn the English language, as these individuals feel that it would help them with a future career, education opportunities, and communication in the rapid change of globalization (Kitjaroonchai 2012). This global exchange across previously impeding boundaries is what has been enabling such changes as mentioned above.
Technology and English
Technological development has been a very important factor and also responsible for creating new opportunities for learning a new language. These developments have facilitated in making learning the language more accessible and effective. This has been shown through the use of the internet and computer games. These can positively increase the language learning process for younger students if used correctly (Gene Ilter 2015). The internet and online games create a great environment for learners to allow them to use the language interactively (Young 2012, Gene Ilter 2015).
These materials are authentic sources of language learning materials (Larsen Freeman and Anderson 2011). If teachers can find suitable ways to incorporate these things into their daily English classes they will see positive results, as children will find such activities more enjoyable and interesting. If children have access to these resources at home (Resources such as the internet, online games, and satellite television) they will receive extra exposure to the language and enhance their communication skills. Having access to such resources is dependent on their income bracket, that they fall in and these materials available in their country.
As the world progresses, the use of electronic learning devices, the internet, and computers in learning processes increases as well. We have to synchronize ourselves with these technologies and increase our effectiveness when utilizing them to get the most out of these resources, as we incorporate them in our teachings.
Furthermore, we must also keep our students up to date so that they can become more familiar with them and understand it when it is utilized in our teachings (Mohammadi et al. 2011). Technological developments can be considered as the most important enabling factor in the global spread of the English language, because of key innovations that have connected previously isolated persons in societies across the world. It is these connections that have been catalyzing the rapid spread of the language and will continue to do so.
In the past, such rapid growth and spread of the English language may have been difficult to imagine. Today in the globalized world we live in, it is starting to become more evident that this change well on its way and that in the next few generations to come. The planet may very well become an English speaking planet. The free flow of information across geographic and political boundaries will continue.
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Overtime more people will have access to language learning opportunities. Technological developments are having a profound impact on the process of language learning across the world. Thus technologies are enabling students to learn the language more effectively in many respects than traditional learning. Access to materials of quality can have positive impacts on the learning process, by providing authentic learning experiences and also cultural exchange between nations.
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This ties into how a nation's socioeconomic status can either have positive or negative impacts on the language learning process and its results. If the world was to all have access to materials (Internet, Skype, satellite television), it would certainly accelerate us faster to the point where the whole planet can speak and understand the English language. We are nearing this point slowly but surely, the process is ongoing. It is however certain that in future generations to come; the English language will become the World's first universal language.
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