English Globalization

Is the loss of national languages inevitable? After reading about the globalization of the English language, we'll discuss whether or not local languages should be mixed with English.

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. What language do you speak at home?
  2. When did you start to learn English?
  3. Do you ever mix your native language with English when you are speaking?
  4. How many people around the world do you think speak English as a second language?
  5. Have you ever heard the terms "Spanglish" or "Hinglish"? What do you think these terms mean?
  6. What is the meaning of globalization?

Vocabulary Preview

  • native: born in or belonging to a certain place
  • estimate: give an idea of the approximate size, number, etc.
  • skill: ability to do something
  • currently: now; at the present time
  • expert: person with special knowledge or skill
  • predict: say what will happen in the future
  • compete: try to win or be better than someone else
  • global: worldwide
  • local: in the area
  • encourage: give support or confidence to; help
  • version: a form that is different than the original
  • adapt: change to fit a new use or situation
  • lucrative: profitable; bringing money

Practice these new vocabulary words here: English Globalization

English Globalization

  1. Today, the English language is spoken as a second language by more people than ever before. In 2006, for every native English speaker, there were estimated to be three non-native English speakers.
  2. English is now the language of business, computer technology, and skilled employment worldwide. Currently, hundreds of millions of people, especially in China and India, are learning to speak English, many of them in small local language schools. Experts predict that 3 billion people will speak English as a second language by 2016.
  3. Many non-English-speaking countries now start to teach their children English in school at a young age. This not only helps the children to learn English but also to get better jobs when they are older. A country that has workers who have both English and computer skills is better able to compete in the global marketplace.
  4. English is also the language of the Internet. Many people work in the field of Internet technology, while many others use the Internet to help them do their jobs or to improve their English skills.
  5. As more non-native speakers have learned English, words from local languages have become mixed with it. For example, Spanglish, a mix of Spanish and English, is now spoken in the United States and Mexico. Hinglish, a mix of Hindi and English, is becoming more common in India.
  6. In fact, some experts think that people could one day speak one kind of English at home, another at work or school, and a third while traveling or talking to international visitors. Other experts believe that countries should encourage local versions of English.
  7. Some native English speakers are upset at these changes. However, they will have to adapt to them because the globalization of English has become a fact of life. The highly lucrative English as a second language teaching industry and the demand for native English speakers will continue to grow for some time to come.

Post Reading Questions

  1. At what age do you think children should begin to study a second language in school?
  2. What do you think is the best way to teach English to children?
  3. Why do you think English has become the global language?
  4. Besides business and technology, what other industries function primarily in English?
  5. How is the spread of English throughout the world affecting local languages and local cultures?
  6. What can countries do to preserve their local languages?
  7. Do you think it is important for English language teachers around the world to try to maintain a standardized form of English? Why or why not?
  8. In what ways do languages change throughout time? Give some examples.
  9. Nowadays, many young people are traveling to foreign countries to teach English as a second language. Do you think this would be a good job? Explain your answer.

Additional Resources