InternationalVolume 13 Issue # 02

English- a global lingua franca

In today’s globalized world, English has emerged as an international language of communication between the people of different nations. Due to growing global importance of English as an international language and its role as an easy medium of communication between different nations, almost every other country is using English for education, trade or employment purposes. In today’s competitive world, students and the youth are supposed to have sufficient command over English if they want to improve their career prospects. It is a common phenomenon that people in different nations can speak and understand English. Similarly, almost all the internationally accredited universities teach in the English language to maintain their global standards.

Most of the scientific research and publications are published in English as its influence is spread all over the world. It is used in international businesses and trade activities, as well. Even more, labels of various products and equipment are printed in English. The global influence of English started with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and with the passage of time, English became an international language of communication. Multinational companies also use English for business purposes when they interact globally. For example, international food-chain McDonald’s uses its logo in English at global level where they have a presence.

The English language has influenced different countries’ educational policies. Asian-Pacific countries are mostly affected by this influence due to their education system having its dependency on the English language. The reason is that these countries have many comparable features and traits including developing to developed, rich cultural diversity and dependent to independent etc. Some countries are developed while others are in the development phase. Cultural diversity means that some Asia-Pacific countries are hugely diverse in terms of norms and culture; while others are, to some extent, diverse in culture. Likewise, some countries are independent in decision making, whereas others are dependent in one way or the other. Different types of people belonging to Asia-Pacific, communicate through English. English has also influenced Chinese education and it has growing importance in the Chinese educational system so that their students could compete with international students.

The global influence of English is multifarious; various types of research works are published in this language in several countries of the world. It is estimated that above fifty percent of the total research work is published in English. This percentage has, however, increased with the passage of time. Books on different topics of science and technology are found published in English. Scientific journals, in many parts of the world, are also published in this language. In Germany alone, more than 80 percentage of the scientists use English as a common communication tool. Students can, therefore, easily access international research and latest educational material for use in their studies, if they know the English language well.

It has been observed that international students get meagre support for studies and may face complex academic content when they go abroad for higher education to English-speaking countries. They also face difficulty to focus on standard based curricula and stringent assessment mechanisms for students. Students fully understand that they cannot avoid the English language if they want to excel in life through the ladder of education which is the only support for mostly middle class families.  It is encouraging that in the education sector, English is quite easily accessible as quality books are available from school to university level and there are a number of reputed institutions in almost every province which are teaching their students in English and their degrees are recognized globally. The growing importance of internet and digital communication has also necessitated the need for having good command over English. Even China, which is an emerging superpower, is giving particular attention to learning English for its youth. The global influence of the English language is an accepted reality now.

A language gets global status when it is accepted by a majority of nations. The English language has continued to maintain its dominating position as a lingua franca and no country, organization or group of people, can easily progress without it. English is continuing to serve as a strong means of global communication between different people and states because this language has deeply penetrated research and innovation.

The English language is required for employment or for business purposes in many countries. It is a requirement of business, industry and government job-seekers to develop proficiency in English. In the trade and industry sector, English is used for most of international businesses. The international banking system is also dependent on English and almost every other country is destined to use English for their domestic and international communications. English is also used in the mass media industry and there are a good number of English newspapers and magazines all over the world with wide circulations. When multinational firms conduct their meetings, seminars and conferences, they mostly rely on English as a language of communication. Business process outsourcing is a big industry and in the coming years, it is predicted that above three million United States service industry jobs and 136 billion US dollars in wages are likely to shift to India, Russia, China and the Philippines.

It is important to note that the process of change and technological development has been rapid in the 21st century and different nations are continuously working to maintain a standard in the field of science and technology. The United States of America and Europe are struggling to maintain their technological superiority over the rest of the world; while China is fast emerging as an economic power. It is a globally accepted fact that the basis of this technological advancement of the United States of America and European countries is their strong educational system; while American universities are playing the role of agent of change and acceleration. This technological influence and hegemony has also helped maintain the global position of the English language.

Meanwhile, China is rapidly working to challenge this global monopoly of the West and that of the United States of America. It is striving to emerge as a global power by 2040. It has already started to educate its students in the English language so that they could fully benefit from technological research and innovations being published in English. It is expected that after the emergence of China as a global superpower, the Chinese language will definitely challenge the superiority of English and will also rise in the global arena as a language of trade, industry and communication. The Pakistan government should also take necessary measures to develop students and the youth to economically benefit from the emerging international scenario.