The Importance Of English On English

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When planning a trip to Paris, there are certain expectations as to where you’re likely to go. The Eiffel Tower is at the tip-top of this very long list. Other items would include Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, possibly Versailles if you want to explore a bit. But one of the biggest draws is the magnificence of the Musée de Louvre. The Louvre is awe-inspiring, gorgeous, and gigantic. One tidbit I gathered on the boat ride through the Seine was that it was about a kilometer across on the river, and it certainly lived up to that on the inside. Of course, my traveling party just had to go and see Mona Lisa, David, all the famous works of art you can think of.
The gift shop was just as magnificent, and just as expensive. I
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Almost anywhere you go in Western Europe, and indeed many other parts of the world, English seems to be the “default” language – almost everyone knows it. In fact, according to linguist David Crystal, there are more non-native speakers of English than native. Has English become a “global language”? And if so, why is that? What parts of history congealed together so tightly that English, a confusing mish-mash of roots, grammar, and culture, came to be the one global, essential tongue? Finally, what does this mean for the future of both English and the many other languages spoken throughout the …show more content…
Although it may appear as though English first asserted itself as such during the years of colonialism and European exploration, this history only had an indirect affect. English didn’t spread past the British Isles until the mid-sixteenth century, and even then, other colonial languages, such as French, Spanish, and German spread just as rapidly and were used just as widely in various colonies (Crystal 25, 3). This spread laid the groundwork for the spread of native- and second-language use of English, where it would be spoken as a native language in the British Isles, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and many other former colonials such as Hong Kong and parts of India. The United States were, unsurprisingly, key to the increase in native use of English; in David Crystal’s book English as a global language, he states that “between the end of the reign of Elizabeth I (1588) and the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth II (1952),” the use of English as a native language “increased almost fifty-fold to some 250 million” people (25). Clearly, imperialism brought about an unprecedented spread of European

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