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The Impact of Globalisation on Language

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Myre received an A in his O Level English. He has done a Crash Course in US Politics. He received admission for political science at Exeter.

Globalisation has changed the world in countless ways.

Globalisation has changed the world in countless ways.

The impacts of globalisation today are extremely fascinating, and we can only wonder what further changes will happen in the future. From the languages we speak to the ideologies we follow, we are starting to become one. We are starting to think and act as a unit, no matter where we are in the world. Our issues and problems are no longer isolated from one another, and everything we do has a global impact.

Map of the British Empire

Map of the British Empire

Globalisation and Language

Perhaps the most far-reaching impact of globalisation would be the way it has influenced our languages. There are more than 7,000 known languages in our world. Unfortunately, these languages are dying rapidly, with one going extinct almost every two weeks. But while some languages are dying, certain others are expanding way beyond their native lands.

One language, English, has become the international language for communication across the world. The reason for English becoming the language that connects the world is the success of the British Empire. Famously known as ''the empire on which the sun never sets'', it seems to have truly lived up to its name. The colonisation of much of the world ended up doing an unintentional favour for the human race: connecting us all and making it much easier for future generations to communicate regularly across the planet.

The British Empire's Legacy

The British Empire's legacy remains deeply entrenched in the world today. Most of us around the world use English for our interactions on an international level. Even people who speak their native languages with their fellow countrymen often use English when they are communicating online due to its feasibility and international reach.

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The use of English as an international language is so widespread that even people with two distinct native languages who don't speak each other's language are likely to use English as their common language for interaction. An example of this would be countries like Malaysia, Singapore and the Emirates. While English is not the local language in those places, English is still used in order to communicate with the many immigrants and tourists from all over the world. This is despite the fact that these visitors themselves might not be native English speakers.

Other Global Languages

While English is the main international language and can truly be considered global, there are others that have reached far beyond their origins: French, Spanish and Arabic are amongst the strongest examples.

  • French: The French Empire made French a very common language amongst several African countries, areas in Canada and certain islands around the world.
  • Spanish: The Spanish colonisation of South America has made it one of the most popular languages in the world today. Almost 500 million people use Spanish as a native language, mainly in Spain and Latin America.
  • Arabic: The global expansion of Arabic has an older history. The Muslim empires in the early centuries of Islam's expansion made it an international language as it was the main language spoken in the large territories of the Caliphate. Originally mainly spoken in the Arabian Peninsula, today it has more than 270 million speakers (note that this number only accounts for Standard Arabic) as it has expanded into Northern Africa. It is also the language used for Islamic rituals by Muslims around the world.
What will the future hold for global languages?

What will the future hold for global languages?

The Future

What does this mean for the future? One thing is for sure: It will be very exciting. It is often said that language influences the way we think. The globalisation of language could lead to people around the world, over 7 billion, thinking the same way. Our thoughts can influence our actions. We can already see how much the globalisation of the English language has impacted our daily lives, our way of thinking and how we process the events around us. Everything from our political ideologies to the scientific information we digest is greatly influenced by our understanding of the English language.

The Impact of Technology

The globalisation of language will be accelerated even further by advances in modern technology, which are taking place faster then ever before. There are several innovations specifically aimed at letting us communicate in different languages. One example would be Google's Pixel Buds, which can work as a live translator of 40 languages once connected to the internet. Online tools such as Google Translate are helping people around the world translate information by simply copying and pasting the text. The ease of communication provided by such tools is quickly turning our world into a global village.

Could a Global Language Lead to Fewer Conflicts?

The ability to interact with people around the world has far-reaching consequences. It is the main trigger that will result in the convergence of cultures, religions and ideologies. The societal impacts of these changes will be phenomenal. In the past, people in the same region who spoke the same language were likely to be seen as a unit. They would form a nation, with a common religion, culture and approach to life.

So what happens once the same language starts becoming global? Could it result in people around the world increasingly thinking and acting as a unit? As a result, will wars, conflicts and disputes decrease? Only time will tell, but judging by the way things have changed so far, it is a very likely possibility.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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