English as a Global Language

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From an analytical viewpoint, the perception of a global language is that it is a language that enables people from different ethnicities and backgrounds to communicate at international levels. Such a language is not only characterized by having its native speakers and those who use it as a second language, but also its distribution across continents is another inherent characteristics that it must have. There is no official global language at the moment although people have argued for and against English becoming one. English has grown and established itself as a global language, however, the question is, does English qualifies to be a global language? It is on this basis that this analysis will be based on an argument against and for English as a global language.

Language is the main determinant of the quality of human interactions which also distinguishes them from other animals. Coordination of the global society is also dependent on language, (Nunan 606). English is one of the languages that has gained international status which has led to its adoption as an official language by most multilingual countries. Just like it has fostered interactions in commerce, education, governments’ activities, and pop culture, English would lead to similar benefits of adopted as a global language. The changing process would be easy since the language is spoken in most continents and only a few would need to learn it.

English’s affinity to other major languages is indisputable which gives it a strong power base, (Crystal). The language remains to the most popular and most of its lexical components are from French, Latin, German, as well as other European languages. French remains to the main source of English’ word borrowing. Most major language speaking groups would therefore have sense of belonging if English was to be made the world language. There is a strong relationship between the language and cultural power since most of its vocabularies were adopted from existing languages. Linguistics have argued that learning English language would be considerably simple compare to other major languages like German. The simplicity of English originates from its affinity to other languages. Although some scholars argue that the simplicity of learning a language depends on the person’s attitude and motivation, research has consistently confirmed that English has almost the same patterns with other languages and would therefore be simpler for the global population to learn, (Crystal).

According to Nunan (611), the language has proved to be effective to its native and non-native speakers in different parts of the world. Approximately a quarter of the global population comfortably speak the language. Its effectiveness is derived from the fact that is has different kinds of syntax which enables communication to be more accurate. It also has a lot of words which enables people to accurately express themselves and put more emphasis to the required points. English language remains to be one of the simplest languages to write since it has few alphabets compared to other languages like Chinese which have hundreds of them. These are the characteristics of English that makes it ideal to be an international language and they form the supportive arguments.

However, critics have argued that English cannot be an official international language based on myriads of reasons. According to Seidlhofer (340), the days of monopoly are over. Furthermore, when England was controlling the world economy it did not force all her business partners to speak in English. The fact that England and the United States control much on the global economy cannot lead to the use of a common language. The language’s supremacy in commerce does not eliminate the input of other native languages in the same. Although the language gas accounted for preservation of international recognition in science, it does not rank first in any of the branches. Making English the global language would be tantamount to making it look better than other languages which is not right. The global population cannot be persuaded to the total superiority of English over their native languages.

Making English the global language would translate into the decline and death of other local and official languages. Making it the world language would put more pressure on other native language speakers to start using it. Intergenerational transmission of other official and native languages would therefore shrink, a scenario which is similar to the failure of a species to reproduce. Linguists argue that there is need to protect language diversity since all languages are of value. The diminishing of other languages would negatively affect identities such as culture, places, and histories which are represented by local languages. Making English a global language would make a lot to be actually lost in terms of identity.

Most people believe it is vital to learn English as a second language since it is widely spoken, (Abadi). This remains to be the right decision since it has been the language of trade for a long period of time. It is also the language of the media since it has been used in a lot of television shows, films, and the entertainment world in general. The language has also helped in reducing cultural barriers, for instance, an Indian does not need to learn German to communicate with someone from Germany since both Germans and Indians speak English. However, it is worth noting that there are cultural differences among countries which should be preserved by allowing them to speak their local languages. Nations preserve their history through languages which would be lost in English was to be made a global language.

Making English a world language would mean that it is superior to other languages. The word superior is dominant and strong which should not be used to describe one language over other languages. Although English has helped in international communications, countries consider their respective languages to be of great importance to them. Claiming that English is superior to other languages has no linguistic basis, (Guilherme 83).Making English a global language would be a threat to civil rights. People would no longer have the freedom of using the language of their choice. Languages gain dominance through natural development, political dominion and international agreement. Fulfilling any of these would be hard for England and America to achieve in today’s world. Political dominion favored the spread of languages during the ancient times, for instance, the spread of English in India. Natural development cannot take place since the global population already has its local languages which cannot be eliminated through international agreement. The only way English can be a global language is if America and England conquers the world. An attempt to do so would lead to results which are similar to what was experienced in Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia when they attempted to force language on captives.


English is one of the major languages in the world and has proved effective to both its native and non-native speakers. Its strong affinity to major languages like French would make it easier for the global population to learn. However, making it a global language would lead to the diminishing and death of local languages which represent diversity, culture, and history. Describing English as a superior language has no linguistic base and would require political dominance, international agreement and or natural development which are currently impossible. The only way English would gain monopoly is if America and England controls the world and impose the language on the global population. However, this would be a threat to civil rights. The arguments against making English a global language are more than those in support of the same. Hence the language should be learned as a second language by willing countries rather than making is a global language.

Works Cited

Abadi, Mark. "The Most Annoying Things about the English Language, From People Who Are Learning It". Business Insider, 2018, https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/english-language-most-annoying-hardest-thing-2018-5. Accessed 1 Dec 2018.

Crystal, David, and Simeon Potter. "English Language | Origin, History, & Characteristics". Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/topic/English-language. Accessed 1 Dec 2018.

Guilherme, Manuela. "English as a global language and education for cosmopolitan citizenship."Language and Intercultural Communication 7.1 (2007): 72-90.

Nunan, David. "English as a global language."TESOL quarterly 35.4 (2001): 605-606.

Seidlhofer, Barbara. "English as a lingua franca."ELT journal 59.4 (2005): 339-341.

November 24, 2023

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Learning Language

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