English as an International Language

Topics: English language, Lingua franca, Second language Pages: 14 (5090 words) Published: May 15, 2013
Cojocaru Olga-Georgiana,
Master STA, anul I,sem. I



This paper is intended to raise awareness on the aspects which define English as an international language, by examining the characteristics of an international language, the number of users, how it spread to reach global status, what factors may impede its continued spread and what dangers are involved in the development of English as an international language.

English’s international status is determined by a constellation of political, economic, demographic and social factors being a communication bridge across linguistic and cultural boundaries.

English is a language studied by more and more individuals as an additional language, it is central cu a growing global economy and it is the major language of a developing mass culture The main point of this paper is the idea that learning an international language is different and has other implications than learning other foreign languages. It has the particularity of belonging to the people who use it, not to only one country.

Key words: international language, spread of English, wider communication

Today’s society is more and more involved in the study of English. The interest in the learning of this language has increased so much that is now considered by many an international language. English has a wide territorial reach and its domination at global scale is now undeniable. The language plays an important role as a language of diplomacy and international communications, business, tourism, education, science, computer technology, media and Internet. It is a fact that English is frequently used in official documents of many international organizations, treaties, contracts and summits being exclusively used in international shipping business. This paper intends to clarify some important aspects regarding the development of English as an international language, the path taken to reach global status and the long-term effects the spread of this language has over countries around the world. Starting from the assumption that English is an international language, this paper is based on defining the essential characteristics of an international language, analyzes why English has developed as one and underlines some important aspects which favor or impede the spread of this language. It is also discussed the way in which English reached such high status and what effects, negative or positive, this status holds. It opens with the definition of the term ‘international language’ and subjects English to an analysis in two direction: from the perspective of the number of users and their recognition as English-speakers and secondly, by summarizing the features of an international language having English as model. The second part of this paper opens a discussion about the spread of English making a categorization of the reasons which lead to its spread and what negative effects can this have over other languages. Next, the third and final part of the paper is dedicated to the wheel which makes this machine work, the users of the language. They are the key to English’s expansion worldwide and another feature that defines English as international language: the bilingual users. It is discussed the growing number of bilingual users of English, what characterizes them as being bilingual and what motivates them to use English as a second language. The last part of the paper also examines the meanings of the term ‘native speaker’, describing types of bilingual users and how they make use of the language. If today, English-speaking countries, taken together have about 400 million...
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