Important of English

6 June 2016

English is a West Germanic language which is official language in 54 countries and 27 sovereign states. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations and the European Union. There are hundreds of millions of native speakers of English and over a billion people have some understanding of it.

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The language that we call “English” began its journey from a fusion of dialects called “Old English” in the 5th Century. The Anglo-Saxon settlers who arrived on the island of Great Britain came from North Germany and Southern Denmark. There are still many traces of the original German roots in the language today and many similarities.

Alongside the German roots, English has a heavy influence from Latin and in the 8th and 9th Centuries the Vikings had an influence of the language through their native Old Norse tongue. Later, the introduction of Norman French in the 11th century brought us closer to the language we speak to day and more recognisable to a modern speaker than Old English. This was to be called Middle English and it wasn’t until The Great Vowel Shift in the 15th Century that “modern” English emerged.

The rest may I say is history, the prominence of the British Empire saw the language being used in kingdoms all over the world and nowadays some may call English the first global Lingua Franca or a bridge language.

English can now be considered a dominant language in the world of business, tourism, science, technology, media, medicine, telecommunications and air traffic control. There are even claims that 80% of communication on the Internet is in English. That is incredible!

In today’s world, knowing English is a “must” and not knowing it could be considered a “disadvantage”. In the past speaking English may have seemed reserved as a second language to a smaller group but now knowing English to some degree is essential for nearly everybody.

A pilot landing an aeroplane in Germany will need to communicate to the
control language in English and doctors studying in China may find that a lot of the literature and material written on their chosen field is mainly in English.

So English is important but it goes much further than just The U.K and The U.S. English is the first language of Australia, Canada, New Zealand as well as many of the Caribbean islands and official in numerous countries from Africa to South-east Asia.

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