By David Crystal, Cambridge, pp 200,2003

A timely book for India,  for educators as well as  the general readers. English today is spoken by some 15 crore people world wide. English is a mother tongue in USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and in South Africa and several Carribean countries. Spanish is spoken in some twenty countries in Latin America. French lost its status,in Algeria French was replaced by English in schools. English is an official language in several countries notably in India. Yet, English language as a global language faces resistance in several countries by language riots, hunger strikes. Language deaths, again India is an example.

English is now taught as a foreign language in some 100 countries. Latin was the international language throughout the period of Roman empire. Romans were not in the majority, but Romans were powerful. So the language of the power, powerful becomes the preferred language of government and education.After the fall of Roman empire Latin continued to be an international language of education and religion,thanks to the rise of Christianity (Pope’s) power and authority. Some languages are rated high as unique ones for their many beauties.Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, French and Persian. English too is considered for these qualities. English has less grammar than other languages.

One reason for its popularity. English borrows words freely from all sorts of languages. Languages have first spread only by swords and commerce! By empires, expeditions and adventurers! At least 50 % of the world’s present 6,000 language would die within the next century. Many new technologies and mediums had helped English. Press, radio, advertising, cinema, pop music are all using English and cinema, pop and press, magazines and newspapoers alone had had a pro-English slant for the languages’growth. Internet is the new technology that is driving the use of English. Internet Survey 2002 shows 544.2 million world users online,  46 5 are in english speaking countries.

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