Position of English as a Global Language: Political and Cultural Factors

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Submitted By scoop22
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Position of English as a Global Language: Political and Cultural Factors
English has achieved a global significance that no other language has ever been able to do so, in such a scale. A language earns its global status when it culturally and politically dominant across the continents. Also, it is notable that the most salient feature of a global language is not how many people use it, rather how strongly the people who speak this language is socially and politically established. In fact, perhaps the most significant force that makes a language global is political power of its speakers.
The spread of English beyond Europe and the British Isles is accredited to four centuries of colonialism and British imperialism, which led to English being spoken by over three hundred million people. (Crystal 14) The first significant stride in the advancement of English towards its pre-eminence as a world language occurred during the early trade in the Atlantic. Crystal also articulates that by the year 1600, England had gained trading contacts across three continents, which retrospectively provided a powerful platform on which the English language was to flourish and become the globally dominant medium of communication that it is at present (39). Trading companies such as the Newfoundland fur trade, the ivory and gold trade on the western coast of Africa and the East India Company brought speakers of English into economic contact throughout the world.

English and the English-based pidgins created in parts of West Africa, acted as lingua francas of common communication during the colonial period. These pidgins during the slave trade were the only means of communicating with other Africans. Eventually, pidgins became the first languages of African slave children and grandchildren. To operate as first languages, the functions of pidgins had to be elaborated, their structures…...

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