With the English language becoming common between all communities, what does really mean for the other languages?
English has clearly become the dominant international language of this era, our lingua franca.
Being able to speak English fluently has become an important asset when it comes to applying for a university, finding a job, or even travelling abroad. English is the world’s second largest native language, spoken by approximately 1.75 billion people worldwide. It is understood by almost all people, as the ‘operating system’ of the global conversation, and the language of mainstream media, film, and music. Is the spread of the English language a positive thing, or a negative thing that is slowly undermining our mother language? Let’s find out!
The existence of a global language encourages the spread of knowledge in several ways. First of all, the internet is today’s main global communication channel. People tend to mainly reach for the internet to enrich themselves with any kind of information, and that information is usually written in English in the form of articles, web pages, and eBooks. Thus, English is the language of information technology (British Council, 2013)[i]. Furthermore, the English language made studying abroad so much easier and more beneficial to students than it was ever before. And getting an education abroad can provide the person with knowledge that can easily be used to improve different aspects of the workforce in their hometowns. In addition, having a common language enables the sharing of views and ideas in an easy and efficient manner, especially among people within the same profession. For instance, doctors from around the world can interact with each other easily in English as a common mean of communication. Thus, doctors can exchange ideas efficiently and learn from each other’s experiences and medical creations in order to avoid fatal accidents in medicine.
Furthermore, with the spread of English as a world language, huge multinational companies are able to sell their products worldwide. For example, many global businesses write their products instructions and guidelines in English, confident that people from all over the world are capable of understanding the instructions and would eventually want to purchase the product. Also, when starting a business, a person needs to be capable of communicating with a wide variety of consumers, colleagues, and providers that might speak different languages. Adopting a global language policy to overcome language barriers is an important route organizations could take in order to thrive in a global economy.
English made travelling to explore different countries as tourists so much simpler. Thus, knowing that the English language holds together the international conversation, this encourages people to travel more. English offered people an opportunity to do what they want for a living and live in any place they want.
On the other hand, English threatens local languages and cultures, it led to the replacement of many unique local cultures. It also completely destroyed what was left of world diversity. Also, a lot of people tend to believe that studying English is vital for a successful life; however, extreme focusing on English undermines multilingualism and language education opportunities.
To conclude, there are positives and negatives to having English as a global language. Yes, it encourages the spread of extremely knowledgeable information, but we cannot deny the fact that English is slowly making us loose what represents us, and makes us unique, our mother tongue language.
Let a global language in, but do not let it imperialize people linguistically.