Language Globalization Essay

1402 words - 6 pages

Abstract:

The following paper introduces us to the terms of global languages and globalization; it also shows us how global languages spread and why they are needed.

Key words: lingua franca, globalization, language

Language and Globalization

Since this paper is going to focus on the problem of language globalization I feel we should be properly introduced first to the term of lingua franca or otherwise known as a global language.
The term lingua franca (plural lingue franche or lingua francas) is used to refer to any form of language that serves as a means of communication among different language speakers, for example, Swahili in East and Central Africa or English ...view middle of the document...

This might seem like stating what we already know, but in fact it is not, a special role has many facets. Such a role will shine mostly in countries where the majority of people speak the language as a mother tongue – in the case of English, this means the USA, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, several Caribbean countries and some other territories. However, none of the languages has ever been spoken by a mother tongue majority, with a few exceptions, so mother-tongue usage cannot give a language a global status, not by itself. A language has to be taken up by other countries around the world in order to achieve such a status. They have to decide to give the language a special place within their communities. (Crystal, 2003: 4)
There are two main possibilities to achieve this. One way would be by making the language the official language of a country, to be used in the communication of the main domains such as government, the law, the media, and the educational system. To get in these societies, it is crucial to master the official language as soon as possible. This type of language if often described as a ‘second language’, because it is seen as a complement to a person’s ‘first language’, or mother tongue. English is a perfect example of this; it has a kind of special status in over seventy countries, such as Ghana, Nigeria, India, Singapore and Vanuatu. English reached further than any other language – though French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic are not far behind, the have also developed a considerable official use. (Chrystal, 2003: 10)
The other way would be if a language is made a priority in a country’s foreign-language teaching, even though this language has no official status. English is now the language taught most widely in the world as a foreign language, in over 100 countries. English slowly overtakes many languages that were used to be taught, for example French.
However there is a great variation in the reasons of choosing a particular language as a favored foreign language, like historical tradition, political, expediency, and the desire for cultural, commercial and technological contact.
Two other questions would be: Why do we need a global language? And, what is the future of English as a global language? To answer the first question, we have to know that translation has played a central role in human interaction for thousands of years. When different countries met, interprets were always present. But there are limits to what can be done this way. The problem of miscommunication that may occur is usually solved by finding a language that can act as a lingua franca, or ‘common language’. Sometimes pidginized or simplified languages are used to communicate when communities begin to trade with each other.
According to Crystal the idea that the whole world might be in need of a lingua franca has emerged strongly in the twentieth century particularly since the 1950s....

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