people use English for
The British Council says "English is the main
language of books, newspapers, airports and air-traffic control, international
business and academic conferences, science, technology, diplomacy, sport, international
competitions, pop music and advertising.
two-thirds of the world's scientists read in English. Three quarters of the world's
mail is written in English. Eighty per cent of the world's electronically
stored information is in English. Of the estimated forty million users of
the Internet, some eighty per cent communicate in English, but this is expected
to decrease to forty per cent as speakers of other languages get online."
What our students say about English
is an easy language. There are no accents, the tenses of verbs are simplified
and the adjectives are invariable", says Gustavo O. after three years studying
it at school. Anaelle S. agrees with him but she finds the many different ways
words are pronounced and the spelling difficult to cope with. Nicolas de F. finds
it interesting and cool because through it he can understand many films and songs.
"You need English to travel around the world - it's a language almost everybody
understands - so it's easier to communicate with people from different cultures",
says Daniela K. . According to Aldebaran D., "you must speak English if you
want a good job especially if you want to work with computers".
here to read and listen why English can be hard to learn.
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The Growth and Expansion of English
is part of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages. By year
1000, the English language consisted of approximately 40 000 words. Nowadays,
the number has grown to more than 500 000. If we calculate the average of words
created per century, this comes to 46 000. A great number of words found in the
English vocabulary was borrowed from Latin, French, Low German, and the Scandinavian
languages. We also know that some periods were more fertile than others: invasions,
contact with other cultures, inventions, technological progress, music, fashion
are some of the factors which have helped to enrich the language.
British colonialism in the 19th century and American
capitalism and technological progress in the 20th century were undoubtely the
main causes for the spread of English throughout the world.
around 1750 to 1950 the British Empire covered about a quarter of the globe. It
was one of the most powerful empires the world has ever known. The colonies gradually
freed themselves but about fifty countries chose to keep a connection with Britain
by belonging to the
The British Commonwealth. English is spoken all over the Commonwealth
either as a native or an official language, and the British monarch is the symbolic
head of the association.
USA has played a leading role in most domains for the last hundred years. At the
end of the 19th century and first quarter of the 20th, it welcomed millions of
European immigrants who had fled their countries ravaged by war, poverty or famine.
This labour force strenghtened American industries and development. The Hollywood
film industry also attracted many foreign artists in quest of fame and fortune
and the number of American films produced every year soon flooded the market.
Before the Treaty of Versailles(1919), which ended the First World War between
Germany and the Allies, diplomacy was conducted in French. However, President
Wilson succeeded in having the treaty in English as well. Since then, English
started being used in diplomacy and gradually in economic relations and the media.
During the II World War, America intervened both militarily and economically to
save Europe from chaos. From then onwards, the United States have consolidated
their cultural, economical and technological power: inventions, rock and roll,
the first man on the moon, the revolution of the Internet, the country's growing
prosperity and commercial aggressiveness have contributed to the further expansion
and importance of English in the world today.
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Oxford English Dictionary's new edition will come out in 2010.The Chief Editor
of OED , John Simpson, has issued an appeal for new words: 'There is no longer
one English - there are many Englishes. Words are flooding into the language from
all corners of the world'.
of English may bring new possibilities for native speakers of the language :
In his MA thesis,"The
Spread of English and Its Appropriation", Daniel Spichtinger quotes MCabe
"...whereas for two centuries we exported our language and our customs in
hot pursuit of...fresh markets, we now find that our language and our customs
are returned to us but altered so that they can be used by others...so that our
own language and culture discover new possibilities, fresh contradictions."
This may refer to writers from
Africa, Asia and former colonies who have used and appropriated the English
language for their own purposes but whose usage of English has also made their
works accessible to a wider audience. For Kachru, "once English aquires a
new identity through creative writing, the language is liberated from its colonial
Raley from the Department of English of the University of California gives
us a list of terms coined to describe international dialects with ties to English...
Is Global English?)
Anglikaans/Anglicaans, Anglonorsk, Arablish, Benglish,
Deutschlish/Gerlish, Dutchlish, Eurolish, Franglais/Frenglish,
Indonglish, Inglish, Italglish, Japlish/Janglish,
Manglish, Minglish, Punglish, Russlish,
Tamlish, Tinglish, Wenglish, Yinglish
Language - History/
Classification and related languages/Geographic distribution/Dialects
and regional variants/ Major regional variations and much more
in Wikipedia, the
Happening to Our Languages? - several articles by people worlwide
published in Topics magazine
future of ELT -International House has marked its 50th anniversary with a
conference on the future of ELT. Here two of the presenters argue for greater
commitment to multilingualism and for training that prepares for diverse needs.
Article from the Guardian.
Queen's English - Non-native
English-speakers now outnumber native ones 3 to 1. And it's changing
the way we communicate.
time to fall behind in class - The global linguistic environment
is changing rapidly, so ELT must update itself, argues Christopher Brumfit
The European Lesson - Macmillan/Guardian Weekly Global English Debate
identity, and the Internet - Mark Warschauer