Future of English as a global language “A language achieves a genuinely global status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country” (Crystal 1997). In the 21st century, English is increasingly becoming the dominant language in global communication. However, the question of where the future of English lies remains unclear. Will English in the future increase in popularity or should we adopt a better alternative? English is undoubtedly one of the most influential languages in the world as more and more people use English as their official or second language.
It has been given a variety of labels to represent its popularity. However, social inequalities and injustices have also emerged in the same process, revealing the controversial role English has had internationally. In order to critically examine the future of English as a global language this essay will discuss the following topics in this literature review. 1. Rise of English World-wide 2. English as the language of Science and Technology 3. English language teaching world-wide The number of English speakers in the world has increased at an astonishing rate throughout the last few centuries.
According to Crystal he states that by 1983, the number of people speaking English as an official language was over 1,400 million world wide. Moreover in India and its subcontinent, the English language has an official standing. In the late 1990’s the number of English speaking citizens in China was approximately 220 million. The Olympics provided the motivation for an increase to double these numbers. English has brought benefits, social inequalities and injustices. It remains questionable as to whether or not English would remain a global standard language.
Tsuda discuss how the political and cultural neutrality of the common language used internationally is extremely important and is required within the English language. By incorporating English into any society, countries are able to have some share of the globalization benefits but this necessitates the force of implementing English. If this way is adopted, the independence and uniqueness of other cultures will diminish because of one language dominating other ways worldwide and homogenize them into a Western and more particularly an American way of life.
Esperanto has been suggested by Tsuda is a language that could be used for the purpose of an equal communication. The Esperanto movement has its philosophy as peace. The author questions whether English has a similar philosophy. THE RISE OF ENGLISH WORLD·WIDE English has undoubtedly dominated other languages in the past 20 years. How it came to be so is another story altogether, although some stress it on historical or political spurs while others believe that modern-day socio-economic and scientific motivations led to its popularity.
However in my opinion and with some research it is believed that the popularity of English began by the end of World War II. The only major industrialized country unaffected by war was the United States. The United States rapidly began working on scientific discoveries, such as the computer, this led to an increase in exchange of information globally, by design English became the source language for storage of information and its retrieval. The United States spent 40 years, after the war, working on setting up research universities, research and development departments, economic stability and computer networking.
Hence becoming the supreme user of information technology as well as its biggest contributor. When you contribute towards something you eventually become its manager, similarly the United States began managing information such as its categorization, storage as well as operating languages and computer system designs. And the only medium it knew best to manage was in the programmer’s natural language i. e. English. So now English not only became the global language of Science but also ecame the global language of Information Technology. The position of English as a dominant language in areas of science and Technology is now quiet secure since most of the modern-day information assemblage are English based. English as the language of Science and Technology: Over the last 20 years, the spread of English has been enormous. Developing Countries desires for economic development, their need for information access and transfer of technology have been the key catalyst behind this dominance.
Although some might see this dominance as a negative impact that will not last for long, in Baileys 1983 article he states: “People bent on imposing their ways on others have no difficulty in contriving arguments to justify their doing so. The historical and present-day spread of English is no exception to that principle. Also “The hegemony of English that has steadily grown with the increase in global communication is now beginning to diminish and will shrink further in the immediate future”
Although such a notion puts forward that English does represent part hegemony, it is the sort of hegemony that will not fade away or diminish in the near future due to some revolution but if it does it will not be as most have expect. However if evidence to date is considered, English is far from being diminished, it is now more than ever still expanding and continuing to secure its role as a global language hence further emphasizing the importance of English in our modern day lives.
It should be made clear that any country that wishes to modernize itself and grow in the areas of science and technology and eventually com pete in global markets cannot show a resistance towards English. It is imperative for any country wishing to make its place in the world for any form of trade to communicate in English. Such will be the case until a time comes in the future when other languages are able to provide access to larger information and better technological development, or until a computer’s ability is developed to such an extent that it becomes independent of any specific natural language.
Many have termed this statement as an argument for English for Science and Technology (EST) instruction. Of late Garfield (1987) pointed out that 88% of articles present in the Science Citation Index were in English, and from 1978 till 1982 data indicates that this development has been quiet consistent. He further adds that if citation data is to be considered then the dominance of English is seen at large. Around 96% of all citations, from 1978 to 1982, present in the index journal are written in English.
Garfield also surveyed that most countries that had an option to publish in their language or a foreign language often chose to publish in English as frequently as in their own language. For example according to Garfield’s research, from 1978 to 1982, the Japanese Scientists cited their own publications 3 times as much as their Japanese publications. While according to Swinburne (1983) the French scientists cited their publications in English four times as much as their French publications.
In the same way the Russian Scientists cited their publications quiet often in English as well. All this suggests that even those countries that value their natural language more are now giving a lot of importance to the use of English as a global language as well as a medium for scientific progression. The major reason behind this acceptance of English is due to the fact that 80 to 85% of all information stored in a computerized data bases around the world are written in either English or in some way abstracted in English. (Kaplan 1980-1982) and (McCrum et al 1986)
English is not only the language for Technology but now is widely being used in Medical publications, in a study by Maher(1986) it is pointed out that from 1966 to 1980 a 19% increase in use of English in medical publications can been seen, from 53% to 72% respectively. In more recent research Maher shows that, with Japan being an exception, there is an incline towards the trend in general rather than a decline. English is undoubtedly the prevailing and widely used language of Science and Technology. Therefore it must be understood that for any country to ecome modernize and industrialize and technologically competitive, it is imperative that they access or use information that has been written in English. In the past 20 years the exponential growth in publications, the need for even faster retrieval and access of information and the stark demands generated by private multinational corporations and government industries have created a competition amongst countries to an extent that the only access to information they have, technological or otherwise is basically in English.
So any public or private modern day business or industries wanting to compete in the global markets and magnify their production need to have access to some form of information, latest researches and technological applications. And in order to utilize the research, applications or information the managers or administrators must be able to use English because English will be the language used to acquire information out of a system. This competition and the need for latest information make the position of English as a global language unwavering and steadfast for years to come.
According to Forey & Nunan “Hong Kong is a major international trading, business, banking, and communications center, and English is seen as a key to maintaining its position in these areas. ”(Forey & Nunan, 2002) ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING WORLD·WIDE In extension to the above rationale that English is the language of Science, it won’t be wrong to say that wherever a need exists English is to be taught. Over the past 20 years this awareness has grown world-wide and more and more countries are giving English a great deal of importance in their school curriculum.
Although the level of English being taught and the measures to be taken for its proper learning is a different issue altogether. Asian countries like China, Honk Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Philippines and Malaysia have added English language in their school curriculum at an early age, with teaching time ranging from minimum 4 hours a week to maximum 50 hours a week. Also a shift in the age at which English is taught is seen, from secondary classes to primary classes.
It should be made clear that not all citizens of a country need to understand English, although in doing so they are denying themselves the access to the enormous information available world-wide. Even a country like Japan that holds a strong resistance towards English has introduced the language at high school level. English in China is in some way considered or has become the language for the elite; those who are unable to learn proper English in schools and have a sound family background begin taking private tuitions in order to learn English.
This introduction of English in schools at such primary level, as well as the steps various governments have taken to ensure its proper learning of the language simply shows the dominance and importance of English world-wide. CONCLUSION To draw a conclusion that English is indeed a global language and will likely remain one in the near future seems reasonable. English plays a vital role is areas of information retrieval and its access, as well as in Science and Technology. Any country wishing to explore or expand in these areas will need to understand English.
Although coming to such a conclusion is not as simple as it may seem, there are many complex issues at stake here but nevertheless, in light of the evidence provided in this paper it will not be wrong to say that English has clearly achieved world dominance and will continue to maintain its position not only as the language for Science and technology but also as world language in general. As Kaplan (1983b) has noted in an editorial in Science: “It seems reasonable to assert, however difficult it may be to accept, that knowledge of a world language, especially English, is essential to the welfare of the new nations . . New nations must find a balance between the cultivation of indigenous culture-rich language and the need for a world language . . . Any other course is tantamount to restricting their capability for modernization. ” Reference List ? Bailey, R. W. (1983) Literacy in English: an international perspective. In Literacy for Life. Edited by R. W. Bailey and R. Fosheim. New York: MLA. pp. 30-44. ? Crystal, D. (1997). English as a global language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ? Crystal, D. (2000). Language death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Curriculum Development Council. (1999). Syllabuses for secondary schools Englishlanguage (Secondary 1–5). Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, China: Hong Kong Education Department. ? Education Commission. (1990). Education commission report number 4. Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, China: Hong Kong Education Department. ? Forey, G. , & Nunan, D. (2002). The role of language and culture within the accountancy workforce. In C. Barron, N. Bruce, & D. Nunan (Eds. ), Knowledge and discourse: Towards an ecology of language.
London: Longman/Pearson. ? Garfield, E. (1987) English spoken here. The Scientist, 1, 9 (7 September). ? Graddol, D. (1997). The future of English. London: British Council. ? Kaplan, R. B. (1980) A language-planning rationale for English for special purposes. In Language Policy and Language Teaching: Essays in Honor of Clifford H. Prator. Edited by J. Povey. Culver City, CA: ELS. pp. 53-64. ? Kaplan, R. B. (1982) Information science and ESP. Paper presented at the 16th Annual TESOL Convention, Honolulu, HI, May 1982. Kaplan, R. B. (1983b) Language and science policies of new nations. (Editorial) Science, 221,4614 (2 September). ? McCrum, R. , Cran, W. and MacNeil. R. (1986) The Story of English. New York: Viking. ? Maher, J. (1986) The development of English as an international langiage of m&ine. Applied Linguistics, 7, 206-218. ? Swinburne, J. (1983) Information use and transfer by British and French scientists: a study of two groups. Journal of information science 6, 75-80 ———————– 2010
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