quarta-feira, 28 de novembro de 2012

The Future of English !

It has long been accepted that English is a global language, used in all corners of the world as a means of communication. In many parts of the world, English is regarded as a basic skill, which children learn at an early age so they can study through English later. The latest statistics tell us that these days around eighty per cent of spoken English is spoken between non native English speakers. A Japanese businessman and his French client will conduct their communication in English. But while English is accepted as being the language of science and technology, what does the future hold for everyday speakers of English?

While linguists agree that the situation of English today is at a global all time record, they do not necessarily agree on where the language is heading. Two of the world’s leading experts on the English language, David Crystal and David Graddol, disagree on the path that English is likely to take.

Mr Graddol points out that although the number of people speaking English as a first language is rising, it is not rising as fast as the number of people speaking other languages around the world. He believes that English will soon be relegated to second place after Chinese and will be equal in dominance to Arabic, Hindi and Urdu.

With twenty five per cent of the world’s population speaking English as a second language, David Crystal suggests that Graddol has underestimated the future dominance of English. He is keen to point out that nobody really knows what the future holds for English because at no other time in History has a language been in such a position. He draws attention to the escalating growth in the use of English between non native speakers and sees no reason for this trend to stop.

Graddol thinks otherwise. While he does not dispute the fact that the number of people speaking English in the world is growing, he emphasises the fact that this is a recent trend. He disagrees with the idea that English will become a dominant world language to the exclusion of other languages. Just because people are learning English, it does not mean to say they are abandoning their own languages. They are instead becoming multilingual. He continues by suggesting that the growth of English is responsible for the spread of multilingualism and that native English speakers who are monolingual will necessarily become disadvantaged.

Regardless of which David you agree with, one thing is certain; the future of English is just around the corner and whichever direction it chooses to take, it will be difficult to ignore its impact.

To watch David Cristal lecture: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xueo5w_matematicas-4-eso-simplificar-los-radicales_school

Source: http://www.britishcouncil.org/professionals-crossculture-future-of-english-1.htm

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