Importance of English language
It would not be exaggeration to say that English today has the same importance in the world as Latin had at the times of Roman Empire and Medieval times. Surely, unlike Latin that was forcefully taught by the Romans and was a sign of a citizen with human rights and basic privileges, learning English now is fully a person’s choice.
The importance of language that is spoken in the country as native is unquestionable, it bears all the cultural heritage, it is the language of local literature, an object of national pride. We can even say that language is one of the factors that truly defines a nation.
So why learning English is so important? Whether we want it or not, the position of English as a world language was established in the times of British Empire. At the pinnacle of its glory, Great Britain had its influence on America, Australia, India and lots of other countries all over the world. Not only it was the language of communications of colonies with the metropolitan country, it was also a language of trading, diplomacy and international business in general.
The rising power of America later only strengthened the position of English as one of the most important languages in the world. Despite the later efforts to create artificial universal language (the most successful of which is Esperanto that takes a bit from each European language and is relatively easily understood by any European and English-speaking person), English today stays the international language of business, diplomacy and science. Lots of books that are meant for international market are translated into English first or are written in English from the very beginning to make them available for the majority of people without costly translations to every local language.
I want to repeat that I don’t want in any means diminish the importance of local languages. Even in our globalized world there is no need to unify every culture and language and erase all the borders and differences. But the globalization dictates the need to have a universal language for our international affairs, documents and even just mundane communication in multicultural companies, families or gatherings.
There are several most important languages in the world, including English, Russian, Chinese and Indian that work as universal languages in different parts of the globe, but English today is the most influential one. Knowing English is indispensable for science – it allows people to study internationally or read the scientific works right after they are published, using them when they are necessary in their own researches, not when they are available in local language.
English is also the language of programmers and IT companies, because most of the languages of programming use English words and syntax. Lots of international law and business documents are doubled in English just to make sure that they are understandable for everyone disregarding of their knowledge of nuances of the original language.
Of course, the burden of universal language greatly defines what is English language now. There are not only local versions of it in the countries with English as primary language: e.g. British English, American or Australian English, but the “dialects” used in different industries. No one will write legal documents using the language of Shakespeare or Wilde. Legal English is perfectly clear and almost fully consists of cliches, each of which can have only one predefined meaning (even if for the average English user, it looks like Google translate from Martian language).
Scientific English is also overly formal, even if there are more freedom of speech than in the previous example, it shall also be perfectly clear. Still, both Law and Scientific English are sometimes used for speculations: either exploiting the fact that they are quite counterintuitive for the reader or just hiding simple things under the ton of words, completely misleading the readers from the main point. These two examples show us that even the native English users can be confused and puzzled while reading such special kinds of English.
But if you aren’t a lawyer, a scientist or a representative of a few professions that require such a special kind of English, learning the international English is much simpler than you can think. Now there is a simplified English, or Simple English that contains only the basic words that are enough to express your thought and be understood.
It is easy for self-learning and is much faster to learn than classical English language. Simple English is used even for the Wiki articles, granting easy access to the information to those who are just starting to learn English or who know only the basics of it, but still are willing to use the possibilities that knowledge of the universal language gives to them.
Also, English that is used on the Internet can soon be distinguished as a separate “dialect” with its contractions, clichés and even specific jokes. Unlike Simple English or professional English, “Internet English” wasn’t developed artificially, it grew naturally, uniting both native English speakers and people from non-English speaking countries who just want to communicate even if they don’t know the language perfectly.
It is usually limited to four or five tenses, omits some articles and is more flexible when it comes to the words order in the sentence. Basically, “Internet English” is the true universal language, because, considering that the forums, chats and other communication channels contain the overwhelming percent of overall human communication, it is one of the most used and most important languages in the world.
Speaking about the Internet we should mention another sphere where English is crucially important: news and press. The news is the thing that should be transmitted very, very fast, otherwise it loses all the meaning at all. Local news, that are important only inside the country, are okay in local language, but if your need your article to be spread worldwide immediately, it is very reasonable to write it in English, so that no one would spend time to find the translator from your local language or double- and triple-check the Google translation, searching for the mistakes that may distort the very idea of the news.
Surely, with the development of the translator programs, the need of learning new languages, even if they are as important as English now, diminishes. Almost everyone can press the button and get their text translated into their native language. These translations, crude and clumsy at the beginning, now are becoming more and more eloquent due to the development of translating algorithms and artificial intelligence capable to learn from actual human translation.
But surprisingly, learning English now is still a great deal: many schools are teaching pupils English as second language, because now it is becoming just a basic need equal to the ability to count or write. The borders become more and more opened and the person isn’t bound to the place they were born anymore. No one knows where they will work in ten or twenty years, so knowledge of the one of the most widespread universal languages just gives the person more future possibilities.
Even travelling becomes much easier with English, because there are English-speaking people almost everywhere, English books and channels to entertain you and important things dubbed in English for the tourists like you. English isn’t as complicated as Chinese with its thousands of written symbols, tones and times. Also, it is simpler than Russian in a way, and also is politically neutral. English words can be spelled easily almost by anyone, speaking any native languages, there are no complicated diphthongs and sounds to struggle with.
The fact that isn’t connected directly to English language, but most of the countries with English as a primary language have developed economies and are the desirable places to live and work in. Great Britain, The United States of America, Australia, Canada and so on are the most popular places for economical immigration.
Knowledge of English is a crucial point to get a chance for living and working there, so people who seek better economic, working and living conditions are now studying English even if they are not kids already. This creates a healthy competition, when any country can get the best specialists in any industry, disregarding of their country of origin.
If they know English they can communicate with colleagues, creating international team or taking outsource projects. So, we can say that people who learn English benefit not only themselves and their families, but also the world on the global scale. English today is the language that unites the world, and in our harsh times we need as much factors that can make us work together as possible.