How English Became the Global Language

How English Became the Global Language

Language: English

Pages: 205

ISBN: 1137303069

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this book, the first written about the globalization of the English language by a professional historian, the exploration of English's global ascendancy receives its proper historical due. This brief, accessible volume breaks new ground in its organization, emphasis on causation, and conclusions.

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(590–604) on the duties of bishops, better known in English as Pastoral Care, and he says he sent a copy of his translation to every bishopric in England. The translations were part of Alfred’s vision that freeborn young men, who could afford it, should be trained to read in English first and afterwards, circumstances permitting, T H E L A N G UAG E O F T H E B R I T I S H I S L E S 31 to read Latin. In his translation projects, Alfred was inspired by the promotion of learning underway in the

Beginning in 2000, the study of Welsh became compulsory for students up to the age of 16, creating a new generation who are familiar with the language. In the 2001 census, the proportion of people saying they could speak Welsh rose to 20.8 percent. This was the first increase reported in 90 years and was due to the great increase in number of speakers in the 10–16 year age group. A survey in 2004 found those able to speak Welsh had increased to 21.7 percent. However, it is far from clear that

because they were illiterate. The Irish at least spoke English, if few could read or write it. Other demographic factors shaped the evolving process. The tripling of the American population between 1850 and 1900 (from 23.3 million to 76 million) was only partly due to new immigration. Natural increase among native-born Americans was also high, ensuring that English speakers were a substantial majority almost everywhere in the country. Moreover, population distribution in the United States changed

reflected, inter alia, the roles played by missionaries as well as by Asian and African students and their families. Third, British rule was remarkably parsimonious and thus incapable of any great successes in any cultural arena. Finally, Africans generally saw English as culturally neutral, while Asians initially chose to denounce it as a product of colonialism. In 108 H O W EN G L I S H B E C A M E T H E G L O B A L L A N G UAG E this arena, as in others, the less powerful in colonies were

voices seemed to be everywhere: running the occupation of Germany, directing the Marshall Plan for rebuilding war-torn Europe, chatting in the streets, and teaching in the schools. Americans dominated the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in many ways, but British English and French were NATO’s official languages. There were also many Anglo-American efforts to teach English in postwar Europe. Government-funded Fulbright Fellowships supported study in the United States, and American

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