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Position Of English As A Global Language: Political And Cultural Factors

2157 words - 9 pages

Position of English as a Global Language: Political and Cultural Factors
English has achieved a global significance that no other language has ever been able to do so, in such a scale. A language earns its global status when it culturally and politically dominant across the continents. Also, it is notable that the most salient feature of a global language is not how many people use it, rather how strongly the people who speak this language is socially and politically established. In fact, perhaps the most significant force that makes a language global is political power of its speakers.
The spread of English beyond Europe and the British Isles is accredited to four centuries of colonialism ...view middle of the document...

This evolution and expansion of the English language plays a significant role in its cultural history, in that the archetypal English culture was becoming diversified; allowing other cultures the opportunity, if not consciously, to submerge their societal mores into the core of the language.

Regarding the spread of the English language in relation to colonialism, the need for settlement in specific areas was analogous to the altering political, social and economic revolutionary. English has become a world language because of its wide diffusion outside the British Isles, to all continents of the world, by trade, colonization, and conquest. (Crystal 107). The first permanent English colonization settlement overseas dates from 1607, when colonists arrived in what was to be named Jamestown and Virginia, after James I and the virgin Queen Elizabeth (Crystal 26). In November 1620, the first group of Puritans, thirty-five members of the English Separatist Church, and sixty-seven other settlers arrived at Cape Cod Bay, and established settlement in what came to be named Plymouth, Massachusetts. The settlers were particularly diverse and dissimilar in age, with young infants to those in their fifties, with varied regional, social and work-related backgrounds. This diversity would have undoubtedly created a range of social attitudes and societal beliefs, as well as an array of regional accents and dialects within the settlement. With regards to the Puritan colonists, their movement occupied and encompassed both social and political constituents, which would therefore have had ecclesiastical influence on the English Language within the settlement. In looking back to the origins of Puritanism in the seventeenth century, the movement was a great contributor to the development of the English language. They showed preference to English rather than Latin and professed that English was a national language capable bringing together all English speakers. This is certainly the case in contemporary society, as English has become the global language, in effect: the lingua franca of communication that brings English speakers together. Furthermore, the language still maintains its association with religion and Catholicism to this day, which marks a cultural dynamic that has thus resisted change.

English settlements continued in North America throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with settlements in the West Indies drawing competition from the Spanish, French and Dutch colonizers. Yet by the early nineteenth century, Britain had power over many of the Caribbean islands, including Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados. (Brutt-Griffler 107) Britain’s ascendancy as a governing political power continued to expand, with colonies in the Indian subcontinent dating from the latter half of the eighteenth century, and also settlement in Australia after the American War of Independence (1775-1783). The American Revolution not only formed a new nation; it also...

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