English as a global language has without a doubt become the dominant language spoken in the world today.
You might ask why is this so?
Let me answer that question by explaining how English has become a global language.
Way back in history, about 400AD, English was spoken by about 4 million people on an island in the north of Europe by the Angles and Saxons and over about 400 years English became the global language it is today where approximately 2 billion people speak and are learning English.
Interestingly English is spoken more as a second language than any native language and the number of people speaking English in S.E. Asia is greater than the English spoken in the UK and US combined.
More people are learning English than people who currently speak English well so there is a tremendous hunger to learn the language, again you might ask why?
A few statistics some of which are by courtesy of the British Council:
- Approximately one-third of the books in the world are published in English.
- Three-quarters of the world’s mail is written in English.
- Four-fifths of electronic communications are written in English.
- About Two-thirds of all scientists read English.
- The top 5 spoken languages in order from the higest on the Internet are English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Portugese.
- The majority of the top 100 films are in English.
- In most countries in the world English is taught as a second language.
The English language is also the most common language of science, business, international diplomacy and used as the prime communication in aviation by pilots and in shipping communications.
The dominant role of the English language can be seen since the 20th century with the dominant role the United States has been playing in the world.
English is the main language adopted by The United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.
Some people may argue that Latin, Greek, Spanish, French and Arabic may also be classified as global languages which may be partially correct however none of these languages are spoken to the same extent as English globally.
So why has English become such a dominant language in the world today?
Reason 1 – The expansion of the British Empire between the 17th and 19th century.
In the 17th century many people from England, Scotland and Ireland migrated to America, Australia and New Zealand and as a result English bacame the mother tongue of these countries albeit with different accents.
In the 18th and 19th centuries Britain expanded its presence in the world in its colonies in Africa and Asia which led to what is called New English e.g. Indian English and Singaporean English, the latter known as Singlish.
Reason 2 – The emergence of the United States, being English speaking, as the world’s major economic power which has had a significant influence on the spread of the English language worldwide.
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Thank you for reading my post. I hope it has helped you start learning English or to improve your English.