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Why is English Considered a Global Language?

Why is English Considered a Global Language? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Most people consider English to be a global language because it is the one language that is spoken and understood by the majority of the population in almost every region of the world. What is a global language? While there is no official definition, it refers to a language that is learned and spoken internationally by native and second language speakers (Mastin, 2011). There are approximately 360 million native English speakers and almost twice as many speaking it as a second language, making English one of the topmost spoken languages in the world (Klappenbach, 2019). English is undoubtedly in just about every sector whether it is in education, medicine, business, technology, tourism, communication, and so on. It is perhaps this worldwide acceptance and usage of the English language that propels it as an extremely essential global language.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Giselle H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Business and International Relations

English is the international language of business and people need to speak English if they wish to enter a global workforce. Learning English will increase your chances of getting hired and provide you with greater opportunities to further your career. With each day that passes by, more and more companies all over the world are now mandating English as the official corporate language. For example, in some of the agile courses, I recently took, one of the examples we looked at our call centers. Most of these customer service representatives are based in foreign countries such as India, the Philippines, and so on. Reason being that many IT firms outsource to specialize in their IT departments as they can benefit from the added skills and knowledge. As part of the Agile & Scrum society, there are meetings I must attend that are held worldwide. These meetings are all given in English regardless of the country that is hosting this event. I can only imagine this is how it will be once I begin my TEFL journey and I am allowed to teach a multilingual class where students from different ethnicities and backgrounds come together to communicate in one language. I am currently in the process of applying for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Through my search of potential universities, not only in the US but also in Europe, I’ve learned that many of the best MBA programs are taught in English. From this, we can assume that English opens doors in the academic world, and students who speak English well can receive the best training and credentials to progress not only in their careers but also throughout life in general. This demonstrates just how far the English language has cemented its place as an international language.

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Traveling

English is an important and useful language to know when traveling. Speaking English enhances your traveling experience in a multitude of ways. Not only will you be able to speak English with native English speakers, but you will also be able to communicate with travelers from other countries and enjoy a greater sense of independence. This will allow you to learn about new cultures, meet new people, and build everlasting friendships from all around the world. Being able to communicate in English facilitates traveling in many ways possible, whether it is for booking, ordering food, asking for directions, etc. While traveling in India, I took tours in both English and Spanish. I noticed that the English tours offered more than Spanish tours. I recall having to translate for a Spanish speaking tourist while traveling in Egypt and also asking for directions when I got lost in Amsterdam! Regardless of the country, you are traveling into, notice that all flight crew, the majority of cruise line workers, and airport staff speak English. The advantages of being able to communicate in English are endless.

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Media and Entertainment

English gives you access to entertainment, media, and the internet world. Most of the top films and music are produced in English while popular books are published also in English. I can relate to this in numerous ways. I have friends in France who speak very little English but can easily recite the lyrics to famous English songs. Similarly, while I was teaching English as part of my volunteer work in Central America, I would often utilize teaching aids such as the radio, movies, and so forth since most of my students had already been exposed to these English sources. Additionally, on all of my visits to movie theaters in foreign countries, I keenly remember that I've always had the option of watching my desired movie in English, which luckily also happened to be the cheaper option. The internet is a valuable tool we use daily and English is the language of the internet, as you may have noticed most websites we visit are often displayed in the English language. English also plays a huge part in the news media. Journalists and writers around the world are now making it a priority to speak good English as they find this to be an indispensable skill to have in their careers. The English language makes it possible for us to stay connected with everything going on in the world around us today.

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I strongly believe that English is a global language and will continue to grow as the world’s dominant language. Every country that I have traveled to, I notice that the English language always comes into play one way or another. Many countries are now adopting English as a common language. For example, Spanish is the official language of Honduras but if you visit its islands, you will notice that most of the locals speak English rather than Spanish. While visiting The United Arab Emirates, I learned that although Arabic is the official language, English is the most spoken language in Dubai. Being able to speak English effectively is significantly important as it not only gives us access to a world of countless opportunities but it also improves the quality of life.

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