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Should English be Made a Global Language?

What constitutes a global language is the question of who the speakers are and not necessarily the number of individuals who speak that language. For instance, Latin language became international because Romans were powerful and not due to their large number. In fact, they were less than the number of people they ruled. There is also a relationship of international language with economic, cultural, technological, as well as political power. A strong power base is fundamental for the globalization of any language. Considering the history of English language, this paper shows how the language best fits a global way of communication, compared to other languages in the world.

A language that is recognized and spoken in almost every country gains genuine global status. For those who are born with English as their first language, this statement  may not mean a lot, as compared to those who have to learn it as a secondary language, in order to probably adjust to a society of English speakers (McWhorter 66). The same applies to other languages, such as Chinese, Spanish, and French. Apparently, there is no language that has ever gained global status by speaking in mother tongue by majority of people in various countries. For instance, Spanish, a leading language in terms of being spoken in mother tongue in more than 20 countries has never gained worldwide status (Rodriguez 25). Thus, for a language to be recognized and appreciated as a global language, it has to be incorporated in different countries. English meets this status, meaning that it can be accepted as a global language.

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Particularly, a global language is declared official for a considerable number of countries where it is applied at various capacities as a medium of communication in such institutions as government, media, law courts and educational system. Therefore, for countries where the global language is not their mother tongue, it is learned in early life as a secondary language since it is perceived as a significant complement to an individual’s first language (Kingston 17). For this case, there is no language that can best justify this fact, rather than English. The English language has demonstrated the above status in many countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Vanuatu, Kenya, India, South Africa, and Singapore among others. Although other European colonies like French, German, Italian, Spanish Portuguese, Russian and Arabic have also established similar status, the level that they have established cannot be compared to that of English (McWhorter 67). Moreover, English has not only gained dominance in its colonial rule countries, but in others that it did not colonize. For instance, Rwanda endorsed English official status in 1996. English language should, therefore, be recognized as a global one.

The second way a language can be recognized internationally and gain global status is through giving priority to the language in a country’s foreign teaching, without being given social status. Therefore, it becomes the language that children are introduced to in schools and the most commonly used by adults who should not necessarily learn it in the proper way while getting their education (Rodriguez 27). For instance, Russian had privilege status for numerous years in the former Soviet Union countries, although it did not last to date. Compared to all other languages, one can concur that English is the language taught worldwide. In most countries where English is taught as a foreign language, there is an adoption of the language as the main foreign language by incorporating it in their school syllabus and, as a result, the language is replacing other languages that occupied such privileges before. For instance, a former French colony, Algeria, replaced French with English as a foreign language, meaning that it can easily fit as a global one.

English language has been proposed by many states as the preferable global language. As it was explained in the two scenarios in the previous paragraphs, it is by no coincidence that the language is popular and acceptable. Most importantly, more than 400 million use English as their first language. English is the mother tongue to more than 400 million people around the world. It is also a second language to more than 500 million in the world (Baron 35). This cannot even be compared with Chinese mandarin because English does not exhibit other forms of languages related to it. This is unlike mandarin, which exhibits various forms of creoles which makes it the language with most speakers in the globe. Furthermore, English is the largest official language in the world. English language takes the first position as the most widely used official language. It is used in 51 countries, followed by French, which is used in 28 countries (Baron 37). Spanish and Arabic follow in the third position, with 19 countries that use the language as their official. This clearly gives English language the status of a global language.

In addition, the internet is dominated by English language. 56% of the internet content is in English language. This is yet another justification for giving English language the status of global language. The present world is dominated by the internet. Even the parts of the world that have not accomplished or gained full access to internet are heading there. To make communication in this sector easier, so that everyone can gain access to it, information is ought to be provided in a common language. Considering the fact that English occupies almost 60% of the internet, it then indicates that it is the most acclaimed and used language, even in other sectors of human life and no wonder it should be the global language (Baron 17).

Most evidently, over 1.5 billion people can communicate in English. Unlike other languages, English is not an elite language and is, therefore, widely spread geographically. More than 1.5 billion of English speakers are spread across all the continents, which is not the case with languages like Chinese mandarin, that despite having many speakers, it is only concentrated in Asia. Moreover, the spread of English has been resisted by some cultures and yet has gained such a high number of speakers (Kingston 28). This shows how easily adaptable the language is in other cultures.

It will be practical to make every individual learn English. For instance, the UN has already put high priority on universal education. The 2nd development goal is to attain universal primary education and to make sure that all children will be able to complete primary education by 2015. Universal schooling is fundamental to teaching a worldwide language. The worldwide spread of English enables nonnative speakers to learn a second language, which is English. Without English language, a second language would raise the number of individuals one communicates with in a very small margin (Anzaldua 17). However, with English, there are high chances of learning about a common language that will boost people’s ability to communicate with the rest of the world.

Moreover, English is easy to learn, compared to other major languages. English is a user friendly language in terms of learning, speaking, as well as writing. Anzaldua stated that “English verb conjugation is spare compared to, say, Italian and only the third person singular is in present” (Anzaldua 22). For example, there have not been discovered any pesky genders that can easily be memorized in English. Also, Kingston indicated that “there are no sounds under whose dispensation you almost have to be born as a prerequisite for rendering them anywhere near properly, like the notorious trill  sound in Czech” (Kingston 23). Considering an alternative language like Chinese, it has a complicate writing system that requires mastery of a whopping 2000 characters for one to be in a position to read a mere sentence. Rodriguez wrote that

In its easiness of grammatical construction, in its paucity of inflection, in its almost total disregard of the distinctions of gender excepting those of nature, in the simplicity and precision of its terminations and auxiliary verbs, not less than in the majesty, vigor and copiousness of its expression, our mother-tongue seems well adapted by organization to become the language of the world (Rodriguez 27).  That illustrates the economic, political and technological power of English speakers.

As it was discussed before, for a language to qualify as a global, it has to be associated with the basic powers that make everything go around in the right way. For instance, it is quite notable of the powerful nature of the native English original, as well as foreign speakers. Britain is a powerful state economically, politically, as well as technologically. Moreover, there are other countries which use English language that are well established and powerful, such as the United States of America, Canada, and Australia among others. To concur more on this, there are very few nations or states that speak English and are still dictatorially governed (Rodriguez 30). This shows that English language is a civilized language and its adoption as a global language would cause no harm.

Despite the numerous pros with which the English language is associated, in order to justify it as the most appropriate global language, there are cons to it as well. First, there are those scholars who argue that there should not be such thing as global language, leave alone making the English the global language (McWhorter 62). They maintain that setting a single language to be learned and used by all people around the world is like killing other languages, as well as their culture. Secondly, some people, especially those that are against United States of America, such as in Arabs countries have argued that adopting English language as global language is like following America. As stated above, one of the major reasons why English as a language in different parts of the world is due to the strong economy of countries, such as England and USA (Anzaldua 24). Americans gained control of world trade after the World War II and, therefore, their language had to gain influence over others and so did military and their economy. They argue that if countries, such as China could overcome American military and economy, mandarin would become the global language (McWhorter 65).

The other issue argues against with adapting English as a global language is translation. Critiques argue that in order to make English a global language, there must be some sought of translation that will be involved and since meaning is given to words by their cultural context, as opposed to dictionary definition, other people using English learnt from dictionary definition will be using the same word to mean different things in different contexts (Anzaldua 34). Important cultural distinctions might be overlooked when translation is ignored.

In conclusion, the paper has explored the various reasons that justify the use of English as a global language. It has also looked at some of the reasons that critiques give to disapprove the use of English, as well as any other language as a global language. The reasons that are offered against are as well baseless. Therefore, English is the language that best fits to be used as a global language. Looking deeply at the many advantages that will accrue by globalizing English language, as compared to others, it is clear that it deserves a universal status.

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