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English as a Global LanguageMany years ago English was recognised as the official language of only a few nations around the globe, largest of them being the united kingdom. And yet today more then 322 million people use it for their natural every-day language. This might sound puzzling and indeed no other language has enjoyed the growth and has emerged globally to such an extend as English. To understand why this happened over time we must take into account the forming of the united states
Roughly 1500 years ago a few Germanic tribes reached the shores of what we today know as the USA. English was used as the common language of communication and remained so over the course of history as America grew to the status as a world superpower it enjoys today. And exactly that growth is the primary reason why English is so widespread in the world today. America has had great success in a large number of fields over the last centuries and while technology improved our ways of communicating, English has naturally spread internationally. While the USA had supreme lead in business, and indeed technology, for many years speakers of other languages had to adapt.
Today technology helps to make sure English remains in a top position as a spoken language. Most technological terms are in English and are then adopted by other languages to form an international standard. This has also happened in other fields such as science and is a natural consequence of people will to work as efficient as possible and smoothen work procedures out as much as possible. At the same time most scientific texts and reports are published in English so the whole scientific world can enjoy and utilize the same resources.
Speakers of other languages could of course have chosen to reject the English tongue and maintained their own language as we have seen attempts to in e.g. france where they enforce the use of French words rather than English loaned words in the media by law. Still English dominates due to the fact that it is a very hybrid language. More than 10.000 words in the English language have been borrowed from French and other European languages and this has possible helped to spread English through Europe, as it would hypothetically be easier for German, Scandinavian or indeed French speakers to learn.
So is English emerging globally solely a good thing or are there any potential dangers to this? Language has always been a strong and vital part of any culture around the world. It is a great part of the history of countries and for many individuals a strong part of their identity. It is so much more than just a tool for communication and so if English were to rise from a globally used language into an internationally recognised language it would mean a great loss of identity for billions around the world. Obviously this would not happen over night, but this might pose yet another problem. People who are native speakers of English would absolutely enjoy a benefit over non-natural speakers, as they would be more used to thinking and working with English. This could potentially lead to exploration or discrimination against less skilled speakers, and if looking at the sometimes cruel and violent history of english speaking countries, it might give rise to fears of future dominance with non-native speakers of English.
To sum up there are both great advantages and disadvantages to English as a global language. On the bright side it would mean mutual intelligibility, a wider range of career opportunities and a rise in scientific efficiency, but on the other hand English is closely linked to the British and American cultures and therefore is not a ?neutral language?. I do not think any language can be implemented as a globally spoken language as it would consequently mean language murder, instead of language death where a language dies out naturally.
Conclusively, I think a global language is important, but we must also treasure and respect other languages and their cultures. Languages help make the world more diverse, interesting and ultimately more alive.