English Next

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English Next
Why global English may mean the end of ‘English as a Foreign Language’

David Graddol

The moral rights of the author have been asserted. The opinions expressed in this book are not necessarily those of the British Council.

Designed and produced by The English Company (UK) Ltd www.english.co.uk Cover design by Intro (Last minor revision Jan 2007)

© British Council 2006 The United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity.

The growth of the use of English as the world’s primary language for international communication has obviously been continuing for several decades. But even as the number of English speakers expands further there are signs that the global predominance of the language may fade within the foreseeable future. Complex international, economic, technological and cultural changes could start to diminish the leading position of English as the language of the world market, and UK interests which enjoy advantage from the breadth of English usage would consequently face new pressures. Those realistic possibilities are highlighted in the study presented by David Graddol. His analysis should therefore end any complacency among those who may believe that the global position of English is so unassailable that the young generations of the United Kingdom do not need additional language capabilities.

David Graddol concludes that monoglot English graduates face a bleak economic future as qualified multilingual youngsters from other countries are proving to have a competitive advantage over their British counterparts in global companies and organisations. Alongside that, many countries are introducing English into the primary curriculum but – to say the least – British schoolchildren and students do not appear to be gaining greater encouragement to achieve fluency in other languages. If left to themselves, such trends will diminish...
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