English as a Universal Language
by Carlos Carrion Torres - Vitoria ES - Brazil
English is without a doubt the actual universal language. It is the world's second largest native language, the official language in 70 countries, and English-speaking countries are responsible for about 40% of world's total GNP.
English can be at least understood almost everywhere among scholars and educated people, as it is the world media language, and the language of cinema, TV, pop music and the computer world. All over the planet people know many English words, their pronunciation and meaning.
The causes for this universality are very well known and understandable. English first began to spread during the 16th century with British Empire and was strongly reinforced in 20th by USA world domination in economic, political and military aspects and by the huge influence of American movies.
The concept of a Universal Language is more significant only now, in the era of world mass communication. Before this era Greek, Latin, French were to some extent universal languages, though mainly in Europe.
By a lucky coincidence due to factors above, English, the Universal language, is one of the simplest and easiest natural languages in the world. The only other simple and easy languages are constructed ones.
Of course the concept of easiness is relative, and it depends on which language you know already. However the concept of simplicity is undeniable: English in an easy language to learn, understand and speak. A complex language such as Hungarian would be a very unlikely candidate for a universal language.
First of all, English Language uses Latin alphabet, the most universal, simple and short one (only the Greek alphabet is shorter and simpler). In addition, in English, the Latin Alphabet presents its most "clean" form as a true alphabet with only 26 basic letters and no diacritics;
Verb conjugation is very simple and easy. Even for irregular verbs, there is almost no variation in person (except 3rd singular in present tense).
Regular verbs have only four forms: Infinitive + Present, Past Tense + Past Participle, 3rd person singular Present Indicative, Present Participle.
There are almost no Inflections. No number or gender inflection for adjectives, articles, adverbs. For adjectives there is only comparative and superlative, almost only number for nouns. In pronouns there are gender and number inflections and only three declension cases (Acc/Dat, Nom, Gen).
English is one of the most analytical languages, with no significant synthetic, fusional or agglutinative characteristics.
Could be there any other alternative for Universal Language, instead of English?
There are other languages that are quite simple and synthetic, with almost no verb conjugation, no declension, such as Asian languages like Thai and Chinese, but they are written with complicated scripts and are tonal languages. However if Chinese were to be written with the Latin alphabet, it could potentially become a univeral language.
There are other strong languages that, due to population and economic power, could be univeral languages, but they have a number of disadvantages when compared with English.
Japanese: has very regular verbs but also a very complicated script.
Chinese: no conjugations or declension, but a very complicated script and tones.
German has many more inflections than English.
The major Romance languages, such as French, Spanish and Portuguese, have fewer inflections than most of languages, but their verb conjugation is very complicated.
Russian has both complex verb conjugations and numerous noun declensions.
In conclusion, it is lucky for us that our universal language is the simplest and easiest, even though that simplicity and easiness weren't the reasons that lead English to that condition.
Last updated 1 day agoEnglish is a West Germanic language spoken originally in England, and is now the most widely used language in the world. It is spoken as a first language by a majority of the inhabitants of several nations, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. It is the third most common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many world organisations.
English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now south-east Scotland, but was then under the control of the kingdom of Northumbria. Following the extensive influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century, via the British Empire, and of the United States since the mid-20th century,
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Historically, English originated from the fusion of closely related dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) settlers by the 5th century with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles, and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin, because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. The language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.
The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from Norman-French, and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages to what had then become Middle English. The Great Vowel Shift that began in the south of England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that mark the emergence of Modern English from Middle English.
Owing to the assimilation of words from many other languages throughout history, modern English contains a very large vocabulary, with complex and irregular spelling, particularly of vowels. Modern English has not only assimilated words from other European languages but also from all over the world, including words of Hindi and African origin. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250,000 distinct words, not including many technical, scientific, and slang terms
Importance of the English Language
Summary: A look at the importance of English in India and the world.
By: Dr. G. Manivannan | Audience: Teachers | Category: Teaching English in Asia
A language is a systematic means of communication by the use of sounds or conventional symbols. It is the code we all use to express ourselves and communicate to others. It is a communication by word of mouth. It is the mental faculty or power of vocal communication. It is a system for communicating ideas and feelings using sounds, gestures, signs or marks. Any means of communicating ideas, specifically, human speech, the expression of ideas by the voice and sounds articulated by the organs of the throat and mouth is a language. This is a system for communication. A language is the written and spoken methods of combining words to create meaning used by a particular group of people.
Language, so far as we know, is something specific to humans, that is to say it is the basic capacity that distinguishes humans from all other living beings. Language therefore remains potentially a communicative medium capable of expressing ideas and concepts as well as moods, feelings and attitudes.
A set of linguists who based their assumptions of language on psychology made claims that language is nothing but habit formation. According to them, language is learnt through use, through practice. In their view, the more one is exposed to the use of language, the better one learns.
Written languages use symbols (characters) to build words. The entire set of words is the languages vocabulary. The ways in which the words can be meaningfully combined is defined by the languages syntax and grammar. The actual meaning of words and combinations of words is defined by the languages semantics.
The latest and the most advanced discoveries and inventions in science and technology are being made in the universities located in the United States of America where English language is the means of scientific discourse.
The historical circumstances of India (having been ruled by the British for over two centuries) have given the Indians an easy access to mastering English language, and innumerable opportunities for advancement in the field of science and technology. Many Indians have become so skilled in English language and have won many international awards for creative and comparative literatures during the last few years. Sometime ago, an Indian author, Arundhati Roy, won the prestigious booker prize for her book The God of Small Things. Her book sold lakhs of copies all over the globe.
Over the years, English language has become one of our principal assets in getting a global leadership for books written by Indian authors and for films made by Indians in English language. A famous Indian movie maker Shekhar Kapoors film Elizabeth has got several nominations for Oscar Awards. It does not require