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Development of English as a Global Language - Essay Example

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This assignment concerns the medium of English - Standard English, ELFE, RP, "the Queen's English," "Oxford English," and "BBC English" (Bowen 2005) that has achieved unprecedented status as a global language. It is spoken as a primary language in over 70 countries (Crystal 2003, p.4), by around 1.5 billion who are fluent or competent in English (Crystal, 2003, p.6)…
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Development of English as a Global Language
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Download file to see previous pages "Standard English" is a general term for a form of written and spoken English that is considered the model for educated people. There are no set rules or vocabulary for "standard English" because, unlike languages such as French, English does not have a governing body that establishes official usage. The concept of "standard English" is therefore fluid. ELFE stands for "English as a lingua franca for Europe." It is promoted by some linguistics experts, and aims to standardise the use of the English language in the European Union. RP, as in "British RP," is short for "Received Pronunciation" - received from the Queen or King, as it were. It is sometimes defined as the "educated spoken English of south-eastern England." RP is itself sometimes called the Queen's English, which stands to reason, but the Queen's English is sometimes even defined as "the language of the United Kingdom." RP was sometimes referred to as "BBC English," since this was the traditional pronunciation to be heard on the BBC, but RP is not often called "BBC English" any more-as a result of the multitude of accents heard on the BBC these days. "Oxford English" is simply the dialect of English spoken at Oxford University. Some consider Oxford English the most standardised, and sometimes even as synonymous with "Standard English," whereas others consider it pompous and pretentious.

Standard English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_English
RP: www.infowrangler.com/phpwiki/wiki.phtmltitle=Received_Pronounciation
BBC English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_pronunciation
Oxford English: Wikipedia. The rest of the information is something that I know.

Official versus Global Status
How does one language achieve such a status
First, the using of language is a social act (Cameron, 1995); language is the means of communication. It follows that social change will contribute to a change in status of a language, as Knowles implies in his study of the history of the English language (Knowles, 1997). Next, that medium can become the official language (as distinguished from global) of a country when it is adopted (and adapted) as the mother tongue and used by "such domains as government, the law courts, media, and the educational system [of that country]" (Crystal, 2003, p.4). Finally, language achieves a genuinely global status as it "develops a specific role that is recognised in every country" (Crystal, 2003, p.3).

English, however, did not achieve global status by way of one or two variables. Several factors contributed to the process and arrival of English as a global language. These factors are part of a slowly evolving phenomenon that parallel the social changes experienced by numerous cultures over many eras.

Social Changes as Influences

Political, military, economic, cultural, scientific and technological changes in society propelled the English language towards the historically significant status of "global language," since no other language has ever laid stake to so grand a claim.

1. Emigration and Invasion
The Old Saxon language (also called Old Low German) and related dialects influenced Germanic populations. Germanic peoples from the coast of Frisia, Lower Saxony, Jutland and Southern Sweden emigrated to Britain during the Roman occupation of Britain, lasting, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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