as a Global LanguageIf we want to discuss about english
as a global language, a good starting point is to consider how to recognize a global language and how this question is related to the english
language? Or, to put it in a different way: what is a global language and why is a global language needed?
There are various definitions or descriptions of what conditions should a language satisfy to be recognized as ‘global’, they are sometimes contradicting and not always generally accepted in professional communities or public. Despite this, there are some agreed upon characteristics of a language that make it ‘global’ or ‘world’ language, as summarized by Wikipedia: “A world language is a language spoken internationally which is learned by many people as a second language. A world language is not only characterized by the number of its speakers (native or second language speakers), but also by its geographical distribution, and its use in international organizations and in diplomatic relations.” Some other sources argue that global influence of a language is measured through combination of three numerical factors or the number of countries that: (1) use it as their first language or mother-tongue, (2) adopt it as their official language, and (3) teach it as their foreign language of choice in schools. Additionally, there are important groups, more or less formal, and subjects that contribute to development and use of a language, i.e., media, professional associations, scientific communities, etc. All of them have needs for exchanging data and information that require specialized elements of the language: vocabulary, structures, etc. In order to be able to effectively communicate they first have to agree about the language they are going to use and then, while using it, continue to work on its innovation and improvement.
In the above discussion we can find many elements that can help us to answer the questions from the beginning of this text. And if we consider them in the context of english
language, we can clearly state that as a global language, if not being the only one, it is certainly the leading and dominating one.
In modern world, the internet, with its potential for exchanging information and creating content, social network communities, etc., has a very significant impact on globalization of communication and development of english
. A recent estimate shows that 80 percent of the world's electronically stored information is in english
has become the second language of everybody," said Mark Warschauer, a professor of education and informatics from california
. "It's gotten to the point where almost in any part of the world to be educated means to know english
." And, it’s worth adding, to know how to use information technologies and, in particular, internet.
One typical and very good example is a professional association, of which I am a member, that specializes in a non-linguistic profession. Project Management Institute, headquartered in the u.s.
A., has global reach and more than half a million members and associated multidisciplinary professionals. One of its roles is to develop global standards and this is done through consensus-based global collaboration and sharing information and knowledge using english
. In its globally accepted standards it is strongly emphasized that one of the key values in them is the common language, with its vocabulary, definitions, etc., that is clearly understood by professionals around the world. Based on these principles the association developed also a code of ethics and professional conduct that contains values shared by all the members of its global community, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, cultural background, etc. This shows that some principles, conveyed by a common language, can be truly global.
To finish these thoughts about english
as a global language, let’s quote an article from The New Your Times: “Riding the crest of globalization and technology, english
dominates the world as no language ever has, and some linguists are now saying it may never be dethroned as the king of languages.” These topics have been commented by many different experts, linguists and others, ranging from very positive to not so affirmative, but, whatever the future of english
may be, we should constantly work to improve our methods of communication believing that they will be used to spread knowledge and positive messages around the world.