“The largest english
-speaking nation in the world, the united states
, has only about 20 percent of the world's english
speakers. In Asia alone, an estimated 350 million people speak english
, about the same as the combined english
-speaking populations of Britain, the united states
” (Mydans 2007). It is interesting to see that english
has become the language of choice for cross cultural communication. With this trend, more people are taking advantage of this market as a way to travel and work outside their country. I am also trying to tap into this growing market. I think that establishing a global language is needed when we are becoming more aware of our world and realizing that we are all interdependent of one another.
One drawback from this how people from english
speaking countries may view foreign people. When we have the mentality that english
is the global language, we might expect everyone to know it. Speaking from my studying abroad experiences, some students thought that everyone in china
. They were frustrated when the street vendors were not able to communicate with them in english
. It's ignorant for them to think this way just because they felt that english
was a superior language. Yes, it is true that more people are learning to speak english
, but you have to realize who those people are. Most likely, they will be people who have business
purposes or those who can afford to learn it.
So as english
becomes more spoken throughout the world, will that hinder us from learning new languages? I hope not. Speaking from someone who speaks two languages, people are missing a great deal. Only when you learn another language do you actually understand your own. I speak both Hmong and english
. When the occasion calls for english
, I speak english
. When it calls for Hmong, I speak Hmong. Most of the times, it is a mixture of the two. Sometimes the english
language can't fully express my feelings so I supplement it with Hmong and vice versa.
On the other hand, will learning the global language affect the preservation of local languages? If we are not careful in preserving languages, then when other people deem them not “worthy,” it is very easy for those languages to be lost, especially those that do not have a written system. According to National Geographic, “some 7,000 distinct languages are spoken in the world today, and one of them dies about every two weeks.” I do think it is important to know the global language, but at the same time, preserving and keeping with the local languages.
Even after I stated all these negative points, I still think that english
being the global language is a good thing. With the common language, we are able to lessen the gap in communication. We are able to use time more efficient when we don't need a translator. Sometimes meanings can also be lost when they are translated from one language to another. I think we're heading in the right direction by having a common language that people from across different cultures can use as their form of communication.
Moffet, Barbara. “Languages going extinct fastest in 5 regions around world: one language dies every 14 days.” National Geographic. Date accessed: July 11, 2011 http://press.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/index.jsp?pageID=pressReleases_detail&siteID=1&cid=1190293532544
Mydans, Seth. "Across cultures, english
is the word." New York
Times. (2007): http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/world/asia/09iht-englede.1.5198685.html?pagewanted=all