INTRODUCTIONENGLISH AS A WORLD LANGUAGEDo you think the following statements are true or false?1. English was already an important world language four hundred years ago.2. It is mainly because of the United States that English has become a worldlanguage.3. One person out of seven in the world speaks perfect English.4. There are few inflections in modern English.5. In English, many verbs can be used as nouns.6. English has borrowed words from many other languages.7. In the future, all other languages will probably die out.Skim readingRead the article on
English as a world language
. Find out the answers to thetrue/false statements. There is one statement for each paragraph. Discuss your answersin pairs. Then read the article in more depth.
Today, when English is one of the major languages in the world, it requires an effortof the imagination to realize that this is a relatively recent thing – that in Shakespeare's time,for example, only a few million people spoke English, and the language was not thought to bevery important by the other nations of Europe, and was unknown to the rest of the world.English
a world language because of its establishment as a mother tongueoutside England, in all the continents of the world. This exporting of English
in theseventeenth century, with the first settlements in North America. Above all, it is the greatgrowth of population in the United States, assisted by massive immigration in the nineteenthand twentieth centuries, that has given the English language its present standing in the world.People who
English fall into one of three groups: those who have learned it astheir native language; those who have learned it as a second language in a society that ismainly bilingual; and those who
to use it for a practical purpose – administrative, professional or educational. One person in seven of the world's entire population belongs toone of these three groups. Incredibly enough, 75% of the world's mail and 60% of the world'stelephone calls are in English.
SIMPLICITY OF FORM.
Old English, like modern German, French, Russian andGreek, had many inflections to show singular and plural, tense, person, etc., but over thecenturies words
have been simplified
. Verbs now have very few inflections, and adjectives
according to the noun.
As a result of the loss of inflections, English has become, over the past five centuries, a very flexible language. Without inflections, the same word can operateas many different parts of speech. Many nouns and verbs have the same form, for example
swim, drink, walk, kiss, look,
. We can talk about
to drink and
to go and
to read and
a bedroom. Adjectivescan be used as verbs. We
our hands in front of a fire; if clothes are
, they need