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Why is English So Popular and Important?

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The rise of the British Empire

English is the dominant or official language in a number of countries, including many former British Empire territories. The rise of the British Empire offers many clues as to why the English language is so popular! Not only does the British Empire play an important role in the popularity of English today, but the rise of the United States and developments within the science and technology industries have also helped to position English as a global language!

After developing in the British Isles, English was spread across the world via trade! In fact, one of the main goals of the British Empire was trade (buying and selling goods). England was so focused on trade that the English Language became the dominant language of business in locations such as Asia and Africa.

While Europe was recovering from the first and second World Wars, the USA was thriving! Business in America took off and the language of trade continued. The influence American businesses had, combined with the tradition of English as the language of trade, helped to contribute to the English Language’s popularity today.

Worldwide Domination of Hollywood Blockbusters

Millions of foreigners watch Hollywood films IN ENGLISH with help of subtitles which inadvertently wires the language into peoples’ brains.

English is the Unofficial Language of the Internet and Information Technology!

The English language also dominates the technology industry, with the majority of software, operating systems, websites, and programs all written in languages based on English.

Once upon a time, Latin used to be the language of science. It was common for researchers and scientists to publish their work in Latin as well as their native language. However, in the modern-day, the majority of scientific research is published exclusively in English.

In the 1900s, Latin was replaced by German as the language of science. But after World War 1, Belgian, French, and British scientists boycotted scientists from Germany and Austria. German and Austrian scientists were blocked from conferences and were not able to publish their research in Western European Journals. This resulted in two scientific communities, one German, which operated in defeated Germany and Austria, and another which operated in Western Europe, primarily in English and French. It was at this point that the English Language started to earn its position as the dominant language of science.

Britishers ruled India for 200 years. During the British Raj, the English language was imposed on India. People who aspired to acquire higher jobs and positions had to learn English. The British rulers wanted to establish a whole new class of Indians who thought like the British and adopted their ideology. Lord Macaulay was of the opinion that traditional Indian education would get the natives attached to their culture and traditions, which would not help colonial rule. They needed Indian clerks and interpreters. Thus Lord Macaulay started what he called his, “civilizing mission!”. He wanted to establish a whole new class of people, “Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.” Added to that the English missionaries who came to India set up English medium schools and colleges.

In 2021, there were around 1.35 billion people worldwide who spoke English either natively or as a second language, slightly more than the 1.12 billion Mandarin Chinese speakers at the time of the survey.

As of 2019, there were 59 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities where English was an official language. Many administrative divisions have declared English an official language at the local or regional level.

It’s hard to believe that the English Language will ever lose its popularity. If the United Kingdom and The United States continue to maintain the influence they have today, then it’s hard to see English ever losing its place as a dominant global language anytime soon.

 

Reasons to learn English

Widely spoken

It’s a very handy language for travel and communication.

Valuable for education

 Countries like the United States and the United Kingdom are home to some of the world’s greatest universities and colleges. And even in non-English speaking countries, there are thousands of good schools around the globe offering their programs in English, and lots of learning resources are available in English.

Rich in literature & popular culture

Speaking Fluent English Denotes a Certain Social Status.

Career booster

As the primary language of business, it is important – no, imperative – to know how to speak English when talking to international colleagues or customers. Having English language skills increases your chances of getting a good job, whether in a multinational company or working abroad.

In India, English is taught from kindergarten through to the twelfth grade. It is also the primary language in which lectures are delivered and exams conducted in universities both in India and in many other countries around the world.

English is Cool

Languages can be cool by being high-status, trendy, or seen as difficult to learn. English is considered cool because of the sociopolitical ascendancy of the USA and historically the UK and the West generally. Speaking Fluent English Denotes a Certain Social Status.

English is the Language of Travel

English speaking countries are the most affluent regions on this planet, and the number of people going abroad on overseas holidays have created the phenomenon of English being the common language people with different national backgrounds use to speak with each other.

Do you know there are some words in English that have Sanskrit (Hindi) origin?

The origin of many ancient Greco-Roman words, now a part of modern English has been traced to Sanskrit.

Check the list given below:

Root Sanskrit Word Median Word in Latin(L) / Greek(G) / Arabic(A) Derived English Word
Gau (meaning Cow) Bous (G) Cow
Matr (meaning Mother) Mater (L) Mother
Jan (meaning Generation) Genea (G) Gene
Aksha (meaning Axis) Axon (G) Axis
Navagatha (meaning Navigation) Navigationem (L) Navigation
Sarpa (meaning Snake) Serpentem (L) Serpent
Naas (means Nose) Nasus (L) Nose
Anamika (means Anonymous) Anonymos (G) Anonymous
Naama (means Name) Nomen (L) Name
Manu (means First Human) ?? Man/Men/Human
Ashta (meaning Eight) Octo (L) Eight
Barbara (meaning Foreign) Barbaria (L) Barbarian
Dhama (meaning House) Domus (L) Domicile
Danta (meaning Teeth) Dentis (L) Dental
Dwar (meaning Door) Doru Door

Major differences between American English (US English) and British English (UK English)

The English language was introduced to the Americas by British colonization, beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Written forms of British and American English as found in newspapers and textbooks vary little in their essential features, with only occasional noticeable differences. Over the past 400 years, the forms of the language used in the Americas—especially in the United States—and that used in the United Kingdom have diverged in a few minor ways, leading to the versions now often referred to as American English and British English. Differences between the two include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary (lexis), spelling, punctuation, idioms, and formatting of dates and numbers. However, the differences in written and most spoken grammar structure tend to be much fewer than in other aspects of the language in terms of mutual intelligibility. A few words have completely different meanings in the two versions or are even unknown or not used in one of the versions. One particular contribution towards formalizing these differences came from Noah Webster (American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and author. He has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education), who wrote the first American dictionary (published 1828) with the intention of showing that people in the United States spoke a different dialect from those spoken in the UK, much like a regional accent.

Spelling differences

British English American English
-oe-/-ae- (e.g. anaemia, diarrhoea, encyclopaedia) -e- (e.g. anemia, diarrhea, encyclopedia)
-t (e.g. burnt, dreamt, leapt) -ed (e.g. burned, dreamed, leaped)
-ence (e.g. defence, offence, licence) -ense (defense, offense, license)

 

Vocabulary differences

British English American English
trousers pants
flat apartment
bonnet (the front of the car) hood
boot (the back of the car) trunk
postbox mailbox
biscuit cookie
chemist drugstore
shop store
football soccer

 

Grammar differences

Aside from spelling and vocabulary, there are certain grammar differences between British and American English. For instance, in American English, collective nouns are considered singular (e.g. The band is playing). In contrast, collective nouns can be either singular or plural in British English, although the plural form is most often used (e.g. The band are playing).

Americans, however, continue to use ‘gotten’ as the past participle of ‘get’, which the British have long since dropped in favour of ‘got’.

‘Needn’t’, which is commonly used in British English, is rarely, if at all used in American English. In its place is ‘don’t need to’.

In British English, ‘at’ is the preposition in relation to time and place. However, in American English, ‘on’ is used instead of the former and ‘in’ for the latter.

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