TEFL Canadian Lakes Michigan



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It is said that roughly 1.5 billion people on this planet speak english, they may not be proficient but they are able to converse and be understood. english is also taught as a foreign language in up to 100 different countries (Crystal, 2003). All these statistics are vast and impressive but in fact do not place english in the ‘Universal Language' category. According to Crystal (2003) to be a Universal language, a non-mother tongue language must have official or ‘special' status in the foreign territory. This is done by assigning the language to different sectors where it is used as the main spoken language such as, government, media, court and legal system as well as the education system. The language is also usually given the status of official second language and is taught at school from a young age. There are many reasons for why english is one of the most spoken languages across continents and many reasons why it probably will not ever become the universal language of the world. It is said that the main reason for a language to flourish world wide is due to political, economic and military powers associated with the language (Crystal, 2003) although factors such as globalisation and diversification in the form of the internet, media, music and global corporations that are largely responsible for the spread and lingua franca status of that language which, at the present, english (Claerr, 2007). It is for these reasons that english has become the most commonly spoken languages across cultures but this does not, by any means, signify that english will become the official world language. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to travel through some parts of Europe and Turkey over the past few months and thus have been exposed to the common use of english and the presence of the language wherever I found myself. No matter where, be it, greece and its islands, Istanbul, spain, Portugal, italy, Germany and Switzerland, I found that english announcements and signage were present on all roads, hotels, airports and shops and english menus were available everywhere. Another significant experience that I had on my travels occurred on a night bus in london where I was sitting between a spanish couple and two italian guys, each pair spoke with themselves in their respective languages but when they started to talk to the other pair, they communicated in english, not the best english but english non the less. Although these are a very small cluster of countries all within and around Europe I was quite surprised at the very real presence of the language. Although english is prominent throughout the world it may not ever become universal and with technologies such as ‘Google translate' among other translating software and the availability of multilingual web-pages/sites and media, it may not retain it's recently established reign as the new ‘lingua franca' as with french and Latin in the past. This also obviously depends of the language of the global economy and leading economic power which is why mandarin had quickly become the language spoken by most people, keeping in mind that most people on this planet are chinese but also the economic power and presence as a country and culture. According to Claerr (2007) chinese has a low probability of reaching the same status as english due to its more simplistic grammar and vocabulary. other languages that show strong prominence, mostly in and around the middle east, india, and north Africa are Arabic and Hindi but non of these are used as commonly as english around the globe specially for business purposes. According to Mydans (2007) the aviation world as well as the jihad and most of the worlds call centre operators speak in english. Thus in conclusion, english is most definitely not and probably will never be a completely global/universal language although it may continue to be spoken as a native, foreign and common language by many nations across the globe as many education, political and economic policies are continuously being implemented (Crystal, 2003; Nunan, 2003). This may in turn bring about many different types of english spoken around the world (Associated Press, 2011) due to multilingual couples bringing up children in an ‘english spoken as a foreign language' environment as well as poorly trained teachers and underfunded education systems (nunan, 2003). On the other hand the prominence of english may start to decline due to new and easily available technologies (Mydans, 2007). So it seems only time will tell of the future fate of the english language, but for now, becoming a part of the tefl world I am excited to aid the current status and improve the quality of english being spoken worldwide. References: • Associated Press Article (2011): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4387421/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/english-wont-dominate-world-language/ • Claerr, J. (2007). How english became a Global Language. Associated content.com. - http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/271148/how_english_became_a_global_language_pg4.html?cat=37 • Crystal, D. (2003). english as a Global Language. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, U.K. ch 1: pp 1-27 • Mydans, S.(2007). Across Cultures, english is the word. N.Y times.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/world/asia/09iht-englede.1.5198685.html?pagewanted=2 • Nunan, D.(2003). The impact of english as a Global Language on Educational policies and practises in the Asia-Pacific Region. tesol Quarterly. 37 (4) pp