ENGLISH: LINGUA FRANCA OF THE WORLD
Being the lingua franca of the world English is now more useful than ever in the field of commerce, international business and technology. English helps corporate world adapt to fast-changing economic environments. To make students of Management & Technology corporate-ready, eclectic method of teaching English will certainly bring fruit worth labor.
Studies say 75% of long-term job success depends on EQ (Emotional Quotient) and only 25% on technical skills. With enhancement of knowledge, soft skills and behavior students can soar high in the new horizons and English can be their new wings. In a Job Outlook 2008 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), the top characteristics looked for in new hires by 276 employer respondents (mostly from the service sector) were all soft skills: communication ability, a strong work ethic, initiative, interpersonal skills, and teamwork. In fact, English is no more an alien language to us. It is the language of our intellectual make-up like Sanskrit or Persian was before. Indians are instinctively bilingual.
ENGLISH: LINGUA FRANCA OF THE WORLD
English has definitely achieved global recognition as the world’s lingua franca. How did it get that way? English is now the official or dominant language for two billion people in at least 75 countries. According to the British Council, speaker of English as a second language probably outnumber those who speak it as a first language, and around 750 million people are believed to speak English as a foreign language. English is the most common language to communicate scientific, technological, academic, and international trade information. English is clearly the world’s lingua franca, but how did it get that way? Part of the reason is the feedback loop driving its history – a dynamic which may serve to illustrate how globalization often is the result of natural course of events: before English infiltrated the world, many of the world’s languages infiltrated English.
It is referred to as Global English, world English, Common English, or General English. Sometimes such type of terms refers merely to the assortment of varieties of English spoken throughout the world. English is mother tongue or native language of most people in countries like United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States, and loosely the former colonies: such as Australia, New Zealand, some islands of the Caribbean, and the Anglophone population of Canada.
In the outer circle are those countries where English has official or historical importance (“special significance”). This means most of the Commonwealth (the former British Empire), including populous countries such as India, Pakistan and Nigeria, and others under the American sphere of influence, such as the Philippines. Here English is a useful lingua franca between ethnic and language groups. In these countries higher education, the legislature and judiciary, national commerce etc. are carried out mostly in English. The expanding circle refers to those countries where English is not used as official language, but it is important for certain functions, especially international business, this use of English as a lingua franca by now includes most of the rest of the world not categorized above.
The other question is why English language is so popular as compared to other languages. It is said that English is a global or international language. What makes it global? Why Hindi or Sanskrit or Urdu or any other language is not used in official communication? Though these languages are widely spoken and taught in schools and colleges. Often we read in newspapers that some word is added into English language. New words from different languages are incorporated into English language regularly and updated in dictionaries. It has also changed with the advent of technology. Any object or thing is relevant till the time it is variable. English language is variable it changes according to the needs of society.
Dr. Ashok Yadav
Center for Languages and Communication