English matters in ESL countries
In today’s world, the total number of ESL (English as a Second Language) speakers well exceeds the number of ENL (English as a Native Language) speakers (Jenkins 4). By English being a second language, that means the language has an official status within a country and is used ‘in fields such as government, law and education’ (3). English language relates to ESL countries in two main domains: one is social status, that is, a higher class for higher education standard; the other is economic power for English being the lingua franca between countries. People generally conceive the ability to use English competently as more educated, and with more education, it is usually easier for people to climb up the social ladder. The mindset is deeply implanted in people from ESL countries. This perception of linking English with education originates from the fact that most tertiary education use English as the medium of instruction. The reasons for such dominance are as stated in Jenkins’ World English. As English being the lingua franca between institutions from different countries and most works are in English (both for the works originally written in English and translated works), English dominates in academic world. “…most academic information in the world is expressed in English, and over 80 percent of all the information stored in electronic retrieval systems is in English… (Jenkins 41)” Jenkins later on explained the importance for English translation works by giving the example of readers generally unable to process Goethe’s or Dante’s works if they are not translated into English. Therefore, English matters in studies, particularly in higher education. One of the reasons for people willing to get into universities is the belief of the opportunities education provides after graduation. It is a general belief that the more education one’s got, the more ease in career and life in general he could find. But in ESL countries where...
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