Status of the English language in the modern communicative space

By Anush Yepremyan | 9/20/15 10:36pm

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When I came to the United States of America two years ago, most of the people were fascinated by my knowledge of English.

They would often say, “How come your English is so good, and it is not even your native language? It is impressive!” But for me, it was not an unusual set of skills; I was thinking, "Who does not know English nowadays, right?" Especially taking into account that English has been the preeminent language for international communication for a few decades now and known as a ‘global language.’

I was reading an article in the New York Times the other day, and there was one statement that caught my attention: “English dominates the world as no language ever has, and some linguists are now saying it may never be dethroned as the king of languages.” I cannot help but agree.

I have always found it interesting, no matter which part of the world you go, you can find your way out if you know some English. English has become the second language of almost everybody. That is why a lot of my English-speaking or American friends say, “We are spoiled. Everybody speak English nowadays. We do not need to learn another language.” But if you are a foreigner, the knowledge of the language creates greater opportunities for your job and future.

Of course, globalization also played its role in this. English language and globalization walk side-by-side. It formed the status that English language has today - a language with a truly global reach.

Look around you. The English language is everywhere: emblems on your clothes, on the radio, at the telephone call centers and subways around the world. I was flying through Amsterdam, Netherlands and even though the official language is Dutch there, the majority spoke English, which was very convenient for all international passengers. The use of one common language helps everyone be on the same page.

However, English is slightly different in every corner of the world. During my first two months in the U.S., many would say that I always answer questions with full sentences - that is how I was taught. In the US, many like to use short forms and abbreviations a lot. Although, I have to admit that slang is not my strongest side.

My most embarrassing situation was when we were dinning at our friend’s house, and the host was giving leftovers to his guests. One of them said, “Just give me a doggy bag.”

I took it literally, but the worst part was that I actually asked if the guy had dogs. The man looked so confused.

“No,” he paused for a while and scratched his head, “this is for my kids.” Here comes that awkward moment! That night, I learned that a doggy bag is something that you are taking home for yourself, not actual dogs.

We live in a very globalized world, and we are surrounded by the power of the English language, even if each location has its own little quirks and slang.

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