English is the most prominent language in the world. No other language than English is spoken as an official language in more than 50 countries (see English Speaking Countries). It is spoken worldwide by more than 500 million native speakers. Still, the significance of English isn’t derived simply from the fact that it spoken in the most largely populated countries in the world, since India and China, for example, do not use English as their primary means of communication. The importance of English, therefore, originates from its importance as a second language, allowing people from different parts of the world, who do not share the same mother tongue, to communicate.
English is the most studied language in the world and its influence is so great that it has affected the vocabulary of other languages. It is used in music heard daily as well as in films and, it is absolutely necessary for the internet or some computer games. Did you know that 75% of the world´s mail is written and addressed in English?
So, English, nowadays, is the leading language of science, technology and commerce. It is also the universal language of air transport, shipping and sport and obviously one of the six official languages of the United Nations, which includes 193 member states and has its headquarters in New York. Moreover, as a Lingua Franca, English is an immensely varied language, since it has absorbed material from many other idioms.
Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon
Last but not least, for all those reasons, fluency in English has become a top requirement to get a good job.
In the last few years the internet has allowed the English language to spread around the world faster than music and movies had previously been able to.
Some teachers in schools in Europe are very eager to use CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) in their classes where students learn some school subjects in English (this is quite different from contextualized language learning, of which the main aim has been to foment experience in the language. With CLIL the focus is on a specific subject that has to be taught in English).
English is here to stay. Even with China’s 10% annual GDP growth, for the last ten years, Mandarin is only spoken in China, Taiwan and some dispersed communities in South East Asia. Even in India and Pakistan, both with a tremendous population boom, English is still a crucial language used by many of the main political elites.
King´s College, Cambridge
Finally, concerning education, which is the main objective of this blog, English, besides being generally an easy language to learn, is also the mother tongue of some of the best universities in the world, namely in the United States and in the United Kingdom, where students from all over the world, still strive to enter. Hence, by reinforcing an appropriate education of English, we are contributing to the future success of our students.
Maria Teresa Relva,
School Year: 2011/2012