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Is English a Dying Lingua Franca - Essay Example

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Is English a dying Lingua Franca It would be a cliche to label English language as the lingua franca of the world. No language in the entire history of man might have enjoyed the status like English language. The reasons of its omnipresence are generally attributed to the expansion of colonial rule of The British, global needs for a consensual lingua franca and the socio-economic needs for an international language…
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Is English a Dying Lingua Franca

Download file to see previous pages... This is a contact language of those persons who are not able to speak each others’ language but they do share a specific language which facilitates them for communication when they come into contact with each other. Due to the reasons mentioned above English language is a lingua franca for many people in the world. It is shared by nearly all the communities of the world. Most of the discourse between the people of South Asia, South East Asia and Africa and Middle East takes place by using English as a lingua franca. Can we say that English will continue to command this acceptance even in future? This question has initiated a debate that has generated response in its favour or against it. It was Graddol (1997) who first came up with certain interesting predictions about the future of language. It was he who had vigilant eye on certain socio-political changes across the globe. The socio-political changes along with new patterns of demographic shifts made Graddol claim that English language may lose its popularity and the present status of a being lingua franca due to the emergence of certain South East Asian and South Asian languages. Graddol reasoned that population explosions in China and India may increase the number of speakers of these languages who may outnumber the speaker of English language. He also predicts an uncertain future of English due to certain socio-economic transitions. Graf’s (2011) research reflects a departure from assumptions of Graddol as it sees no observable shift in the world’s lingua franca from English to any other language like Chinese or Urdu/Hindi due increase in number of speakers. Graf’s study has taken into academic and economic measures like bibliometric analysis and Gross Domestic Product to ascertain the possibility of Graddol’s claims. The study describes that although Chinese language is showing some developments at global level, yet it does not seem to have assumed the role and international lingua franca in near future. All the above given indicators seems to suggest that “ English-language cluster seems to remain unchallenged as the world’s most important academic and economic language (p . 77). Widdowson’s stand on the issue has been explained with reference of two quotations from poetry (Jenkins, para 30-31).The first is an excerpt from Yeats's TheSecond Coming: Things fall apart: the centre cannot hold Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world The second has been taken from Tennyson's Idylls of the King: The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfills himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world. Widdowson’s analogies sum up the controversy in the form of two conclusions: According to the first analogy taken from Yeat’s poem Widdowson seems to assume that if the Inner Circle is able not able to maintain its authority then there will be situation of linguistic anarchy in world which uses English language as its primary mode of discourse. His second observation seems to view a situation where the non native varieties of English will take the place of English language. In both cases the status of English as a lingua franca is compromised (cited in Jenkins, 2005). Jenkins(2005) also shares the views expressed in Tennyson’s poem which seem to suggest a replacement theory regarding status of English. She also views a shift in favour of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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