English as a Global Language
The phenomenal rise in use of English has mainly taken place over the last two decades. English has reached high status world-wide because of several factors; as the mother tongue of millions of people all over the world, as the language that millions of children learn at school and the language that is used in international relations, for global communication and as the major media language. The importance of a global language has become major, in some contexts such as communication, e.g. international web-pages on the Internet, English is the only language used. In addition, English is used to establish and maintain connection and relationship between people with different backgrounds from different cultures. In this discursive essay, I will discuss the different aspects of a global language and how it will affect cultures, minority languages and communities all over the world. Disposition of body
• Definition of Lingua Franca
• Do we need a global language?
• Should English be a global language? Why/Why not?
• Which standard will be the Standard? / Strict or loose standards? • Will native speakers take advantage?
• What will happen to minority languages and communities? Method
Before I started to write the essay, I read relevant literature. David Crystal’s “English as a Global language” contains a lot of useful information, and so does “Sociolinguistics” by Peter Trudgill. In order to retrieve I want different aspects on the subject, I also used the Internet for research. I was also interested in average people’s opinion, therefore I asked approximately 40 people of different backgrounds, age and gender what they think of English as a global language. 1. Definition of Lingua Franca
Many people do not know what a lingua franca is, therefore I will start by defining the term Lingua Franca and also tell a bit about its history. 1.1 Lingua franca is Latin and means “French language”. The first text written in a lingua franca is from 1353, but a simpler form of it appeared in the 11th century. The origin of this term is from the modern era when French became the language mostly used in commerce and diplomacy between the European countries. Not only French serves as a lingua franca, several European languages had the same status; e.g. English, Greek, Latin and German. The term lingua franca became so common that it continued to be used for any “universal” language. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_franca 2005) 1.2 A lingua franca can be any language which is used for communication among people who have no native language in common. In many of the former European colonies in Africa, French or English are used as the language of communication in trade and business. (Trudgill 2000:132) In some parts of Africa, other African lingua francas, such as Swahili and Hausa, are used. These languages are indigenous in some countries and have become used because of political reasons. When a language is used as a lingua franca, it undergoes a certain amount of reduction and simplification. The simplification often refers to getting rid of irregularities and grammatical gender in the lingua franca. This happens because adults are, unlike children, generally not good language learners, and therefore need a simplified version of the language. (Trudgill 2000:165) Should English be the Global Language?
People in general have different opinions on English as a “global” language. There are positive as well as negative aspects of this. Do we need a global language? Why do we need it? Why should English be the best option? 2.1 Translation has always played a central role in interaction between people with different languages and language skills. Thousands of years ago, monarchs, ambassadors and merchants had to rely on someone to translate. But the more linguistically mixed the community got, the less they...
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