Globalization And The Use Of English As An International Language

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Globalization And The Use Of English As An International Language


The current paper is aimed to explore the issues associated with globalization and the use of English as an international language. The topic of the paper is highly important nowadays due to the role which English language plays in the modern world.

The main issues that will be explored in the current academic paper are as follow: globalization as a process and the way how people perceive it, the spread of the English language around the world and the way how people perceive English as an international language, positive and negative effects, which it has on the society as an international language.

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The paper uses interviews of five English language speakers as the evidence to prove the claims made in the paper. One of the interviewees is multilingual and four other interviewees are bilingual. The interview was specially organised to find out how the interviewees perceive the meaning of ‘globalization’, to learn in which situations they choose to use the English language and in which cases they decide to use their native language or other language they know. The interview also helps gather the information on how interviewees perceive their identity and what effect the usage of English has on their identity.

The paper consists of the introduction, the main body, which is divided into three sub-topics, and a conclusion. In the first sub-topic the notion of globalization and its perception by the interviewees is discussed and analysed. The second sub-topic explores the situations, in which the interviewees use English language and other languages to communicate, while the third sub-topic analyses the impact of English language usage on the identities of the interviewees.

Main Body

Globalization is a process according to which different countries around the globe are gradually becoming alike. They begin to use the same services, goods, economy and culture. English language is the language of globalization due to the fact that it is an international language, which people from different countries use to communicate with each other. English language symbolizes progress. It is the language of the Internet, international magazines, television and newspapers. English language is rapidly spreading around the world. It gradually becomes a global language. The effect, which English language has on the world, is complex because it affects all factors of people’s lives. For example, people use English at work, for their studies, for personal communications with their friends and relatives.

It is highly important to understand the role of English language in modern society. There are different thoughts regarding the process of English language becoming a global language. The main positive impact of English language is that it enables people from different countries to communicate with each other. English allows people to share information with each other, regardless of their native language. However, English language produces not only positive but also negative effect on the world. It is so due to te fact that English language produces negative effect on the native languages of different countries. Due to the fact that people use English for all aspects of their lives, they begin to use their native language less. As a result, their native language becomes neglected and if it will not be used in a proper manner it may disappear.

English language as an international language changes the way people perceive their identity and the human moral values. In order to protect their languages from extinction, people must continue using them as actively as possible, regardless of the fact that English becomes a global language. If the minority languages will be protected from extinction, the minority culture and traditions will also be saved.

In order to gather the evidence for the academic paper, five speakers of English language have been interviewed. One of the interviewees is multilingual while the other four are bilinguals. The interviewee 1 is a 20-year-old multilingual female who studies at the University of Hong Kong. She speaks three languages, which are English, Chinese and Japanese. Her native language is Chinese. The interviewee 2 is a 27-year-old female who works as an insurance claim officer in Australia. She lives in Australia for 6 years. She can speak two languages, which are English and Mandarin. The interviewee 3 is a 23-year-old female who works as a customer service administrator in Australia. She lives in Australia for almost 23 years and speaks two languages: English and basic level of Mandarin. The interviewee 4 is a 25 year-old male who works as a banker in Australia. He lives in Australia for 11 years and speaks two languages: English and Mandarin. Interviewee 5 is a 28-year-old male who works as a land planner. He lives in Australia for 2,5 years and speaks two languages: English and Mandarin.

 The interview was structured in a way to successfully find out all the required information. The interviewees were asked how they understand the notion of globalization. They were asked in which circumstances they tend to use English language and in which cases they are likely to use their native language or other language they know. The interviewees were also asked how they connect their usage of English language with their identities. The interviewees answered the question of the interview in details and explained their points of view in the understandable way.

The Perception of ‘Globalization’

Each of the interviewees understands what ‘globalization’ means differently. The interviewee 1 defines the notion of ‘globalization’ as a tendency, according to which people in one country are being offered similar services and are being influenced by the same culture and social ideas, as people in other countries all around the world. The interviewee 2 has the same perception of ‘globalization’. According to her, globalization makes different countries become more alike.

Compared to the interviewee 2, interviewee 3 defines ‘globalization’ differently. She thinks that globalization is mainly about business becoming global, which means that such business will be more powerful and influential all around the world.

Interviewee 4 has the similar perception of ‘globalization’ as the interviewee 1 and interviewee 2. He perceives ‘globalization’ as a process during which the world gradually becomes more united. The countries become more open to each other as there are fewer barriers for tourists. It becomes easier to spread the information between different countries around the world. It also becomes easier for people to borrow each other’s ideas.

Interviewee 5 has the similar view of globalization as the interviewees 1, 2 and 4. He thinks that globalization is a process, during which politics of one country becomes more connected to the politics of all other countries of the world. Globalization enables the close cross-cultural connection between different countries, leads to the connection of economy and makes societies of different countries alike. The countries become gradually more dependent on each other. However, the countries still have differences if compared to each other.

The interviewee 1 thinks that English language became international language because it is the language of the countries, which have the most powerful economy. English is a native language in the USA, Unlighted Kingdom, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. According to the interviewee 1, such countries as America are the most powerful, so other countries are dominated by it and have to use the language of this country. The position of Crystal supports the point of view of the interviewee 1, because according to Crystal, it is highly important not only how many people speak the language but also from where and who such people are as only the language of the economically powerful country can become a global language, which will stimulate globalization (p.7). Thus, the interviewee has a point that English language is associated with globalization as it is a language of countries with strong economy. However, he beliefs that being the language of a powerful country does not make English deserve to be the global language.

Unlike interviewee 1, the interviewee 2 agrees that English language deserves to be the global language as the countries that use it are similar to each other and work together towards the globalization of the world. English language is perceived to be an important tool of international communication by most countries of the world (Crystal 2003, p. 2). English is taught as the main foreign language in around 100 countries around the world. Research shows that about 1, 5 billion people have a fluent level of English (Crystal 2003, p. 5).

The interviewee 3 has the same perception of English language as the second interviewee. She believes that English language stimulates globalization and becomes more important in the world. She also believes that knowledge of English is essential skill for the successful employment due to the fact that English is an international language.

The interviewee 4 also believes that English is the language which stimulates globalization as it enables people from different countries to communicate in English, regardless of their own native language. Interviewee 5 also believes that English is an important globalization tool which enables people from different countries to understand each other.

There are three groups of people with their own perspectives regarding the globalization, such as sceptics, hyperglobalizers and formationalists (Garrett 2010, p. 447). The interviewee 1 has a view of a sceptic on globalization, while the interviewees 2 and 4 have the perspective on globalization similar to hyperglobalizers. It is caused by the fact that they believe that the world becomes united in the cultural and economic domains, which are characteristic forms of hyperglobalizers’ point of view according to Garrett (2010, p. 448). At the same time, the point of view of the interviewee 3 exemplifies the perspective of formationalsists. When globalization is perceived mainly as the interdependence of different countries and the connections it enables different countries to have, globalization is perceived as internalization (Scholte 2002, p. 8). Thus, interviewee 5 views globalization as internalization. Interviewee 4 has the same perception of globalization as he focuses on the fact that globalization allows people from different countries to share information and ideas.

Globalization consists of culture, colonialism, human rights, nationalism, industrialization, investment and sustainability (Bruthiaux 2008, p. 17). Globalization enables distant countries to experience the same events as the other countries around the world, regardless of their geographical position (Block 2003, p. 75). The curricula for studying English as a foreign language are diverse and modified according to the needs of the learners (Bolton 2010, p. 455).

The Usage of English and Other Languages

Depending on the context, interviewees decide what language they should use in each particular situation, whether it is English, their native or any other language they know.

Depending on the circumstances of each particular situation, interviewee 1 chooses among the three languages he knows, which are: English, Chinese and Japanese. She uses English language for her studies when she is at the University. She also uses Japanese for her studies when she attends classes and passes exams. However, she uses Chinese in order to communicate with her friends.

The interviewee 2 chooses between English and Mandarin depending on the situation. The interviewee uses English language in order to communicate with a person who does not speak Chinese. She uses English for her everyday life, to communicate with friends and co-workers. She also uses Chinese language to speak with the Chinese.

The interviewee 3 chooses between English and basic level of Mandarin to communicate with people depending on the situation. The interviewee uses English to communicate with all people, except her Chinese friends. She uses English in her everyday life, for her work and with English speaking friends. The interviewee uses Chinese only to communicate with her Chinese friends. However, her level of Chinese is basic, so she uses Chinese only in the introductions.

The interviewee 4 also chooses between English and Mandarin to communicate with other people. He uses English in his everyday life with his co-workers and friends. English is his main language, which he uses to communicate with all people except his mother and father.

The interviewee 5 also chooses between English and Mandarin, as the interviewee 3 and 4. He uses English to communicate with all English-speaking people and with people who do not speak Chinese. He uses Chinese to speak with Chinese-speaking people.

The Effect of the English Language on the Identity of the Interviewees

Identity of each interviewee is affected by the English language depending on the context in which the English language is used.

The interviewee 1 associates her usage of English with her identity, because when she uses English she feels herself a global person, rather than a citizen of a specific country. The usage of English makes her more influenced by the culture of other countries. However, she still identifies herself as a Chinese person. Thus, it is natural for her to speak Chinese as her native language, thus, she prefers to speak Chinese with all people who understand Chinese.

Even though the interviewee 1 uses English to communicate with people and to study, Chinese language is important to her identity as she identifies herself as Chinese.

Unlike the interviewee 1, the interviewee 2 thinks that the usage of English language does not have a strong impact on her identity, even though she uses English for her everyday life. She perceives English only as a tool to communicate with other people.

Interviewee 3 believes that English language produces an impact on her identity as she perceives herself to be more natural when she uses English. It is easier for her to express herself in English than in Chinese. She perceives English as a highly important language which enables her to communicate with people from different countries using English as a tool.

Interviewee 4 also believes that English produces an important impact on his personality and makes him influenced by the culture other than his own. It also has an educational impact on his personality, because it is the main language he uses. He perceives moral and human values differently due to the fact that he uses English which makes him more open to other’s beliefs.

Interviewee 5 perceives English as a language, the usage of which influences his identity. It is due to the fact that English enables him to socialize with friends from Australia and to receive help when he travels abroad. English also affects his perception of information, which he sees or reads in English. It is a useful language for him, because he uses it as a tool in his work and private life.

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To conclude, the academic paper discusses and analyses the perception of globalization by the five interviewees, who are English speakers. English language does not only enable people from all around the world to communicate with each other but may also negatively affect the minority languages and cause their disappearance.