The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
We all speak English, or at least we try!
Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a “world language,” the lingua franca of the modern era. While English is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a second language around the world. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural sign of “native English speakers”, but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. It is, by international treaty, the official language for aerial and maritime communications. It is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.
Modern English, sometimes described as the first global lingua franca, is also the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy. Some years ago for istance, a decision of the Dutch government shocked the other European countries: in Dutch universities some courses may be given in English instead of Dutch. In fact, most courses in information technology, medicine, engineering, economics and so on include a lot of English terminology in every other language of the world.
English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union (by 89% of schoolchildren), followed by French (32%), German (18%), and Spanish (8%).
In the EU, a large fraction of the population reports being able to converse to some extent in English. Among non-English speaking countries, a large percentage of the population claimed to be able to converse in English in the Netherlands (87%), Sweden (85%),
Denmark (83%), Luxembourg (66%), Finland (60%), Slovenia (56%), Austria (53%), Belgium (52%), and Germany (51%). Norway and Iceland also have a large majority of competent English-speakers. Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are
available in many countries around the world. English is also the most commonly used language in the sciences. In 1997, the Science Citation Index reported that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries…
But the geographical spread of the English speaking world cannot entirely account for English being the “lingua franca” of the modern world. The industrial and technological achievements, mainly of Britain and the United States, has made English the international language of many different fields, like: International air traffic control; Sea navigation (morse code between ships); The complex jargon of computers and space technology; International scientific, business and financial world conferences; Advertising and marketing is another field which is largely dominated by the English language.
What’s more through the American negroes, English became the language of jazz. English continues as the language of pop music throughout the world not only from British and American pop stars but as the chosen language of the Swedish group Abba and the Spanish group Baccara, and no doubt many others in other countries. The British enthusiasm for competitive sport has given the world soccer football, rugby football, golf, tennis, cricket, squash, boxing, competitive swimming, rowing, modern horse racing and even ping gong. To this list, the Americans have added volley ball, basketball and baseball. It is hardly surprising that English is the international language of sport, and words like “corner”, “penalty”, “goal”, “K. O.” and smash” are familiar in every language.