English as a global language Before English can be given the status of ?global language?, I think the term must be defined so we know the grounds to this statement. I don?t think that the term can be defined only by how many countries that use English as their mother tongue or how many people speak the language as their first. If that were the case, English could easily be compared to Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi, which in fact have more native speakers
of the language than English. What defines a language as a universal or global can mainly be defined by two criteria. Firstly a country can make a language an official language of the country, used in government, politics, and education. For one to progress in these societies English is needed, and this can be thought as a complimentary language to the mother tongue. English is a global language in that it holds official status in over seventy countries and therefore needs to be well known to operate in the societies in these countries. Secondly, English can be made a priority in the countries second-language teaching system, even though it may not have official status. It would be the language most likely to be taught to children in school or adults who never learned it. English is now the most widely taught foreign language in the world, with over 100 countries teaching it as a second language.
A look into history can reveal why a language might have become so dominant and why so many people might use it. Greek, or Latin can both be compared to English as a dominant world language as a result of economic supremacy. The Greek language became a world language as a result of the Empire of Alexander the Great much like Latin gained popularity because of the Roman Empire. The rise of the British Empire saw colonies developed all around the world in places like Africa, North America, Asia and the South Pacific and to this day the majority of colonies founded by the British Empire still use English as their first language. The power of these english speaking countries
has had a significant effect on the rest of the world. Not only do people learn English to communicate with native speakers
of the language but also they will learn English to converse with as a bridge language with non-native speakers
of English. With the many ways to communicate in our day and age, the need for a default language in which to bridge communication is ever more necessary in order keep up with the growing world. I think that because of the historical events and implications that contributed to the dominance of the language, the default or bridge language of English will be needed greatly in the professional world until the form of a new dominant language comes around. Whether you are looking at the number of countries that have accepted English as their official language or if you assess the number of students
taking esl courses
, you can see that there is a definite need for the language so that people can connect around the world. It is clear that learning the language can open up opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable and in an age where technology
and communication play a great role in everyone?s lives, there has never been more of a need for a global language than now.