Causes and Consequences of the Global Expansion of English
The English language has been around for many centuries, and it continues to gain dominance as the years go by. English has been deemed a very powerful language due to the expanse of its usage globally. Originating from Britain and America, it has fast spread to conquer all the other continents. A dependable mode of communication is essential for communication to work, and English has become the key for almost all societal and business sectors of the world. This paper discusses the causes and consequences of the global expansion of the English language and delve into this topic to understand the relevance and growth of the language in the world over the years and its future if any. Whereas the causes of its expansion include economic, political, social and educational growth, the spread of the English language has significantly contributed both to the death of local languages and improvement of various countries’ economies. Causes of the Global Expansion of English Like any other language, English is subject to growth or death. Over the years, however, the language has seen a tremendous rise in the rate at which it has been spreading (Plonski et al 3). One major milestone for the English language include conquering different countries to the grassroot level.
A language can be viewed as complex based on how difficult it is to learn it. For African nations like Kenya, the adoption of English has been a major challenge due to perceived difficult nature of the language. However, it has been better adopted despite the teaching challenges. Establishing working relationships in an institution is pegged on the ever-changing channels of communication. For effective communication in most companies globally, English is used as the main language. While people may come from different locations and each with their own language, a common language needs to be used as the medium of communication at the office. (Plonski et al 3). This situation has created a great platform for the English language to take over. For instance, business meetings are conducted in English while reports, memos, letters, brochures and all other office documents are usually written in English. In such an environment, a non-English speaking person would have to learn the language to ease communication with colleagues and other partner organizations. In different African countries, there are many tribes that speak different languages. In Kenya, for example, there are over forty tribes. Individuals from one tribe may start a local organization to advance the achievement of a certain agenda and generate income in the long run. The growth of such an organization is pegged on interactions and facilitation by other individuals or organizations that may not speak the same language. To foster working relationships, the language that is the most suitable for adoption between Kenyans could be Swahili. However, this language may exclude foreign help by other organizations that seek to be involved. English is, therefore, applied as the official communication language in such case. The need to create an all-inclusive platform for everyone to understand without any barriers is what makes the English language to continue its spread at local levels. In addition, the facilitation of successful negotiations is currently based on a common language, which is English. Every country in the world relies on relations with other nations to make economic and political advancements (Plonski et al. 2). In the global markets, such advancements are achieved through skillful negotiations and proper marketing by a country’s representatives (Plonski et al. 3). International relations benefit a country through providing opportunities for foreign investments, thus creating employment for the local people. The English language has been identified as the major medium for business discussions in global arena. In most of these fora, representatives who speak languages, such as French, Arabic and Chinese among others often have their messages translated to English. This takes much time to show the importance that has been accorded to this language. A sound understanding of the English dialect is key for many African countries to communicate investment and development issues effectively. It is through such special international fora that a country like Kenya benefits from long-term relations with other countries. The Kenyan citizens are, therefore, better placed to derive economic benefits from such relations. As English has by default become the global official language, the nations that do not have it as their official language have to learn it to facilitate communication with other nations. Advancing the development agendas of countries in Africa has over the years been achieved through formal writing and conversations with other countries in English. It is the option that works best as opposed to many African countries which insist on the official use of their local dialects for regional communication. The importance of the English language can, therefore, not be overlooked as it serves as a tool for enhancing a country’s development. Education is another reason for the global expansion of English. Education systems have greatly transitioned over the years. According to Plonski et al., some countries like Ethiopia use their local language Amharic as the main teaching language in the early years of education (6). Choosing a language of instruction that surpasses tribal lines necessitates the identification of a common language, which has been identified as the English language. Since colonialism, some countries like Rwanda has adopted French as the main language of communication. This is, however. changing as the country continues to transition to English. Rwanda has also adopted teaching policies and education initiatives in English in the rural areas in order to increase its coverage in the country (7). This shift has been brought about by the need to identify in a unifying language. English is considered a unifying language due to its versatile use as the medium of instruction in many education systems globally. Since these systems rely heavily on the English Language, there is a strong urge to adopt it globally. A large number of teaching materials are available in English, which means that the recipients of these materials have to learn the language to utilize them. Despite the fact that some universities abroad use languages like Portuguese, Japanese and Spanish among others as the language of instruction, the education system in Africa and Kenya in particular, is wired to use the English language as the main mode of communication to accommodate diverse cultures. Considering the thousands of languages spoken in Africa, it would be very difficult to provide a curriculum that can accommodate all. Consolidating this to a common language makes it easier for a Nigerian to study in Namibia or any other country of their choice within the continent due to a common language of instruction at school. The language, therefore, brings people of diverse cultures together and unites them through a common curriculum. The use of English as a main language globally has led to the availability of research materials in English. Documentaries for different types of research, research reports, company reports, and so many other reference materials are available in English. When carrying out a research for a particular area of study, it becomes difficult for a student not familiar with the English language to access credible research materials. There is very little material, if any, that is available in local languages in Africa. It would, therefore, require conducting research at the local level to gain credible information. Publishing the same research material to reach a tangible audience would also be most relevant when published in English. The English language, therefore, has and continues to gain mileage in all aspects of academia.
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- Oliver Tumbo (Author), 2020, Causes and Consequences of the Global Expansion of English, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/966949