We are so globally interconnected today, that there has never been a greater need for a single mode of communication for everyone to access and utilize. Arguably, English language performs this vital function better than any single language in the world; making its knowledge hugely important for communication, education, business and day to day life.
Interesting Facts About English
According to the British Council, English language enjoys a special or official status in at least 75 countries in the world which is about 2 billion people. English is the first language for about 375 million people whereas about 750 million people speak it as a foreign language. One in four people in the world speaks English with some amount of fluency. According to some estimates, at least one billion people worldwide speak English to at least a basic level.
Historical and Cultural Reasons for English Domination
From the 16th to the 19th centuries it was British colonization that made English accessible to such a vast geographical area. One may well argue that English was forced upon enormous numbers of people, but regardless of the reasons behind this, the fact remains that English became the most dominant linguistic force in the world.
More recently, it is the status of the United States of America as the world’s only superpower that has promoted the use of English worldwide. The influence of the US, militarily, economically, scientifically, technologically and culturally – the reach and influence of Hollywood movies and American TV – has ensured even greater spread of the English language all over the world.
English as Lingua Franca
English is often described as the first Global Lingua Franca (vehicular or bridge language). English is the main language used by people with different mother tongues to communicate with each other for trade, diplomacy and for administrative convenience.
English is the principal language of scientific discourse and technological advancements and its knowledge provides greater access to these advancements and discourses. Leaders of developing countries in particular urge the furtherance of English in their school systems because the knowledge of English is so advantageous to students and nations.
International trade, aviation, business and education depend upon English as the most commonly understood and widely used language. Even global literature is more accessible because of English since vernacular works are most commonly translated into English to make them accessible and consumable for the largest global audience.
So today, not having a sound knowledge of English can hamper personal development in any number of different ways!