Practice Exercises
Surveying the text

Quickly survey the text and answer each question below.

Surveying - Looking at the text quickly to collect background information which will help you understand detailed information easier. When you survey, you look at titles, pictures, headings, sub-headings and the general layout of the text.
1. Which is the best title for the reading?
The rise and fall of the English Language
Languages in the world today
English – positives and negatives
English in the world
2. Where would this text most likely appear?
In a general interest magazine
In an academic journal
In an information brochure
In a commercial for an English language school
3. What is the purpose of the text?
to persuade the reader that English is the best language
to describe the history and status of English in the world
to teach the English language to the reader
to introduce global languages

English As A Global Language

  1. In Denmark, a group of sales representatives from across Europe discuss their company’s performance in the one language they can all speak - English. In India, a popular soap opera beams out to millions of viewers in a mixture of English and Hindi known as 'Hinglish'. In China, more school children study English as a second language than there are people in England. The English language is fast becoming a global language. That is, if it is not one already.

  2. The English language is over 1500 years old. It developed from a number of other languages as new groups of settlers arrived in Britain from Europe from the 5th Century AD.  'Old English' contained elements of Germanic languages (brought by the Angles and Saxons), Scandinavian languages (courtesy of the Vikings), and traces of Latin. After Norman rule the language was reborn as 'Middle English' with many words from French. From the 16th century 'Modern English' became the language of Britain.

  3. As British political influence expanded, the English language spread to other countries. The establishment of British colonies in far-flung corners of the world meant that the English language was imposed upon many cultures, often at the expense of native languages. The United States, Canada, Australia, and Jamaica are just a few examples of former British colonies that now speak English as an official first language. By the 19th century, Britain had become the most powerful of the European empires, and English was the most widely-spoken language in the world.

  4. By the 20th century, however, the British Empire had all but collapsed and its political and economic influence was diminishing. Nevertheless, the rise of the English language continued through the emergence of the United States of America on the global stage. America’s dominance as a political, economic, and cultural power helped to ensure the further spread of English in this period.

  5. Today, English is the official language of many, if not most, international organizations. It is used for business, advertising and travel. In many countries English is used to study other academic disciplines such as science, medicine or law. More books are published in English than in any other language, and English is still the main language used on the internet. It seems then, that English as a global language, is still growing.

  6. The modern English-speaking world can be divided into 3 categories. According to researchers Kachru and Nelson there is an 'inner circle' of native English (L1) speakers, in countries such as the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other former British colonies. In the 'outer circle' are countries where English is used as a second language in conjunction with other languages, for example India, Nigeria, or the Philippines. While in the 'expanding circle' are countries where English is not used officially, but is widely studied as a foreign language (EFL).

  7. This 'expanding' circle is growing at an exponential rate. In fact, the number of people studying English as a foreign language is now greater than the number of people who speak English as their first language. Studies from the British Council show that there are now 750 million EFL students in the world, compared to only 375 million native speakers, and 375 million speakers of English as a second language (L2). At the same time, many countries, such as Norway, Lebanon, and Somalia, are fast moving from being EFL countries to L2 countries, as English is used more and more widely in business, education, and government.

  8. The beginning of the 21st century raises many interesting questions for the English language. As more and more speakers of other languages begin to use English, how will it change? Will it continue to grow globally, or will another language take its place? If so, which one? Will there be one standard form of English or will new varieties of the language come into being? Only time will tell.
Exercise: /5