What is a Global
“Global English” in a
sociolinguistic context refers almost literally to the use of English
global language. It means a common language for the world.
language achieves a genuinely global
status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every
Having such a status, the global language has to be of a great
all the domains of the human activity in the world.
For example English dominate such fields as
the media, foreign language teaching, business etc.
But still, it should be quite
uncontroversial to state that English definitely plays an enormously
role in all the countries all over the world. Even though the enormous
importance of English for communication in Europe
and its remarkably high prestige are undeniable facts, it is
whether it is entirely justified to talk of English as a global
language in the
European Union. Global on a global scale it definitely is but perhaps
global in the meaning of dominating all parts of the world or rather
of human activity in all parts of the world to the same extent. For
EU, English is not being the language with the highest number of native
speakers. It is only the national official language of the UK and one of the national official
suitable for an international language.
Some people have the opinion that
English isn’t suitable for use as an international language. The
firstly, that English is a national language. They think no national
is suitable for international use. Why? Because if we accept a national
as international, that gives enormous political and cultural advantages
country or countries for which the chosen language is the native
Secondly, they find, English is very difficult for most Asian people.
that if we take English as the international language, 90% of people of
world who don’t know English will be discriminated and they find it
Why English is and
should be an international language?
a) Who speaks English?
English is present on every
In over 60 countries it is used
officially or without the
sanction of government and is prominent in 20 more.
are three kinds
of English speakers, those who speak it as their first
language, those who speak it
as a second language and those who learn it a
about 400 million
people speak English as their mother tongue or
first language. Over 50
million children study English as an additional language
at primary level and over 80
million study it at secondary level.
b) The origins of the English
English we know is derived from the
language of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Until the early 1600s only a
million people spoke English. They lived on a small island in the North Sea. The English traveled all over the
settled. The areas where the English settled were called colonies.
between the mother country and the colonies became an important factor.
language used was English. Now English has for more than 150 years been
a world language.
c) The state of English at the
Today, we will acknowledge that English
is sweeping the planet’s physical, economic, cultural and cyber space. Hollywood,
Coca-Col, the hegemony of the American empire in the world battered by
global wars – English is the language of pop-culture, of tourism, of
and trade, of the Internet. It’s the language the young in the
world, the formerly powerful world, and the world yearning the
compelled to learn. It is becoming a global language unlike any other
history. English is an increasingly classless language. English
more than just a convenient means of communication among the globe’s
it’s an ideological movement – even if by accident.
d) English in Europe
though in Europe English is only one of
the 11 official and
working-languages, that isn’t
the largest spread here, it has a primordial influence in this region.
In the UNO English is used as a
working-language since 1945 and this mean it is used on all levels of
the organization as well as on all official occasions. As well, English
as an official language of the Council of Europe that is used for daily
and official statements.
But still, English doesn’t dominate daily
business in the EU institutions, but French, for two obvious reasons,
their French-speaking surrounding and the historic fact of the UK
organization as late a 1973.
Surveys among the citizens of the European
Union underline the fact that English is seen as an enormously
language but at the same time not seen as the only language that should
could even be used for communication on a official EU-level.
When trying to
assess what English means for both the countries that already
constitute the EU
and the countries that are most likely going to join the organization,
extremely important to examine the existing educational systems. Since
be simply impossible to find out about the real knowledge of foreign
this seems to be the closest one can get in exploring possible future
of language in a more global society. In this matter we can use a table
shows figures for the school year 1994-1995, dashes indicate missing
cases where a given language is the mother tongue.
French are important foreign languages in the time-tables of
schoolchildren in primary schools in the
EU and selected countries aspiring
languages at primary school level
French Community Belgium
Flemish Community Belgium
secondary school English, French, German and Spanish are taught to some
in the schools of the EU and of some future member states.
languages at secondary school level
French Community Belgium
Flemish Community Belgium
Analysing these two tables we can
tendency of English being the most widely taught foreign language in
of Europe, so we can suppose that in short time English will become an
language and in this region of the world.
Today English is spread and used
largely in the mass media. The BBC and
news channels like CNN are watched by a relatively small group of
channels showing music videos and popular films, such as NBC Super
Sky Television are hugely popular. In Eastern
especially many newspapers have started to be published in English.
There is a
statistic that talks of as many as 17
English-language newspapers established in Eastern Europe
former Soviet Union.
English continues to be the chief lingua franca
of the Internet. More than
80% of the data stored on Internet are in English.
The linguistic legacy
British Empire and the indisputable excellence of the United States
in many technological areas has led to the use of English as a lingua
in many commercial and industrial situations, with the consequence that
need for foreign language competence has not always been perceived or
in British commerce and industry.
Job offers for a number of branches will
expect applicants to speak English without even mentioning this fact,
even greater need of English in business is to be expected
take one particular subbranch of business, accounting, English does not
dominate here on a national level but as soon as companies decide to
than one reporting language for their annual reports it is mainly
table 10 (adopted from Parker 2000: 50) clearly shows.
Secondary reporting language
number of companies
situation of English is peculiar in that perhaps no other language has
been so important on a global scale and at the same time met with
hostility. Many languages are undergoing a process of massive lexical
transformation due to loans from English. For decades now the
countries have had heated debates about the necessity and use of
Interestingly enough protests against English becoming dominant in
areas are especially strong in countries with so-called major
speakers are not used to not being able to use their own language.
organizations use English in their communication.
write their reports in English. It is used by pilots and at sea.
English is the
favorite language of a lot of pop-artists and lyrics
writers. It is used for television productions, films and video games.
In recent years computer technology
has helped to give
the English language even more importance.
present there is no sign
that any other language will replace
as a world language.