If you are reading these lines then your English language skills are most likely quite good. You might be a native English speaker or someone who speaks English as a second language or as a foreign language. You might be surprised to know how many people speak English. There are about 350 million native English speakers in the world, and about as many who speak it as a second language. 750 million speak English as a foreign language. Moreover, English is being learned by about a billion people. Billion! That’s a huge number. Have you ever stopped to think why English is so popular and why it is important to speak English?
And why is it? Try to ask this question on Yahoo! Answers. The most popular answer is “Because English people are too lazy to learn yours!” Hmm, amusing as it might be, it’s not really the reason. In reality, English is the lingua franca of the world, but not because it’s spoken by the largest number of people. It’s mainly because English is spoken as a native language or is a very dominant language in more continents than any other language. Think of the US and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, India, South Africa and also the Caribbean. No other language has the same impact on so many parts of the world.
Still not convinced? You must have missed the fact that English is everywhere. It is used by non-English-speaking tourist destinations to communicate with visitors, it dominates most of the World Wide Web’s stored data and pages, it is critical for international business and even for landing a good job. That’s why a billion people are learning English.
And indeed the world has a new mania: the English Mania – a relatively new obsession with learning English. Watch Jay Walker talk about this new mania. He shares photos and spine-tingling audio of Chinese students rehearsing English — “the world’s second language” — by the thousands. Check it out:
To summarise, there’s no doubt. It’s important to speak English and it can certainly make life easier and more enjoyable. The more you master it, the better. It only makes sense to hop on the English Mania train and not wait for the lazy native English speakers of the world to start learning other languages.
And what do you think? Are you an enthusiastic English learner? Are you a native English speaker who feels that English is more than enough? Or do you believe that this is just a temporary trend and that a different language is going to take over the world? Don’t be shy, share your thoughts with us!
Adios for now –
Sharon and the Ginger team17 Comments