English as a global language

Written by: Jovana Vuković

Communication is one of the most important aspects of human life that enables people to
express their thoughts and feelings, as well as share their opinions, problems, and needs.
People’s urge to communicate and interact led to the development of a global language or
lingua franca, i.e. a common language that enables communication between people from diverse ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds.

A language becomes global when it becomes recognized worldwide. There are two ways in
which this can be done – firstly to be made the official language of a country or to be used for communication in important domains (e.g. government, the educational system, the media) or secondly to be made a priority in a country’s foreign-language teaching (Crystal, 2003). English is the only language that has the status of a global language. According to Statista Research Department (2022), 1.5 billion people worldwide speak English (as native or as second/foreign language speakers).

The influence and importance of the English language can be seen in various domains –
international relations, as well as media (e.g. social media, cinema, pop music, and culture) and education. When it comes to international relations, English plays an important role in
international political gatherings by facilitating language barriers. In terms of media, English is being promoted as the dominant language on various platforms (Youtube, Netflix, Instagram…). The Internet is crucial in intercultural communication, making people use
English on a daily basis. When it comes to education, English as a foreign language has been extensively taught in Croatia at every level of education (kindergarten, primary school,
secondary school, and university).

However, English’s omnipresence also led to negative feelings and concerns. European
languages feel threatened by its influence – there is an abundance of colloquial loan words used by young people, as well as in the advertising industry and journalism. Finding an adequate equivalent in the native language can be hard, so people usually accept the English term. However, the bigger problem appears to be borrowed English words that are adapted and used as a basic part of the vocabulary (e.g. finalno instead of završno) (Pašalić and Marinov, 2008). When it comes to Croatia, various words and expressions from English have become a part of everyday communication (e.g. sorry, cool, by the way…)

English being a global language has undeniably impacted many European languages, including Croatian. However, I think that multilingualism is an advantage, rather than a setback. It enables intercultural communication, teaches people how to be respectful and tolerant toward other cultures while showing the importance of fostering their own national and cultural identity.

Works cited:

Crystal, D. (2003). English as a global language. Second edition. New York:
Cambridge University Press.

http://culturaldiplomacy.org/academy/pdf/research/books/nation_branding/English_As_A_Global_Language_-_David_Crystal.pdf: English as a global language

Pašalić, M. i Marinov, S. (2008). The English language and globalization. Školski
vjesnik, 57 (3. – 4.), 249-258.

https://hrcak.srce.hr/82631: English as a global language

Statista Research Department. (2022).

https://www.statista.com/statistics/266808/the-most-spoken-languages-worldwide/: English as a global language

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *