English as the Global Language

People from different parts of the globe are reaching out to other parts for purposes like trade commerce and education. Sooner or later, a need will be felt for a common global currency. Similarly, a need for a common global language was experienced in the past decades and English filtered out of the vast range of world languages to gain international status. It is interesting to discuss why English, and why not any other language. According to Crystal David (2003 ), a language achieves a global status only when it develops a ‘special role’ and fulfills certain functions. The ‘power function’ of language expects that it should enable us to gain goods and services in order to live well and lead a good life. The ‘community function’ of language helps us to represent a personal and social identity. The former is a centrifugal force and the latter is a centripetal force.One hypothesis can be that a language that is the Mother Tongue of people in the maximum number of countries can be an international language. But geographically speaking, English is a mother tongue in a handful of nations like the USA, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa several Caribbean countries, and a few others. Yet, we observe that its influence has reached all parts of the world. Hence, being a mother tongue of many nations cannot be a criterion for being qualified as an international language.From the historical viewpoint, it is necessary to go back to the 19th century to seek the origins of how English emerged as an international language. Britain established its colonies in several parts of the world, spreading not only its political power but religion, culture, and language as well. Even after the nations became independent, the impact of English remained. The Christian missionaries had converted a significant part of the population to Christianity before they left the colonies. The language adhered to the religion and was retained.