Richard finds out about all the different kinds of English and talks to some of the hundreds of thousands of students who come to Great Britain to learn English every year.
I’ve come here to the British Council who work hard to build cultural relations between Britain and the rest of the world, and the English language is a big part of that. Let’s find out more.
The British Council provides resources for people learning English, and also teachers of English. Martin Peacock is the Director of Global English Product Development.
Richard: Martin, tell me about English as a global language.
Martin: OK, well many people talk about English as being a global language. And the reasons for that are the widespread use of English. It’s used in education, it’s used in science and technology and, importantly, English is also used in business.
Richard: Are there many global languages?
Martin: Well, no, not really. I mean there’s ‘the’ global language which is English in the sense that English is used in these many different contexts; there’s only one. There are other languages which are used very widely and spoken by many people in many different places: Cantonese, for example, a variant of Chinese, is spoken in many different places so it’s global in a geographic sense and it can be global in the numbers, but in terms of the use in different areas of education, science, research, English is the only global language.
Richard: Are there different types of English?
Martin: Well, yes, there are lots of different types. There's different accents of English. I come from the north of England, where I have a particular accent. So within England itself, within the UK, there are many variations in English pronunciation and that extends globally, so you see English in America and used in Australia, which is different in accent and also in usage as well.
Richard: And what about the impact of technology on a language?
Martin: In the past, new words were coined by people - it might have been in a speech or a newspaper article or in a book - they were written down and then other people adapted them and used them, and that could be quite a slow process and new words might come into a language over a long period: 10, 20 years. So technology allows languages to evolve much more quickly.
Richard: So technology can change the language, but in what way does it help people to learn the language?
Martin: Well, it helps in many ways. In the past, students in locations in other countries didn’t have access to much genuine English; they may have a book or an odd newspaper, but what the Internet allows them is to read and often to read and translate languages like English on a massive scale.
People learn English for different reasons and knowledge of the language is often important in fields like medicine, business and computing. English is becoming more and more important in order to communicate in the international world.
English opens doors to employment, education and mobility. And it helps teachers and learners engage across the globe. One of the best ways to learn English is to study in Britain. But what is it actually like to learn English here?
Clare: My name is Clare, I am 26 and I come from Italy. My course at the North West Academy was very good. I studied grammar, conversation and also words linked with my work placement. The teacher was very good. She has always been available for problems during the lessons and outside the lessons.
Over 600,000 learners a year come to Britain to help achieve their ambition, to experience modern UK life.
Maximiliano: My name is Maximiliano. I’m 23 years old and I’m from Venezuela. Everyone here is very friendly. When you tell them that you’re a foreigner, everyone is very welcoming, like everyone tries to speak with you, everyone, like, tries to just stay close to you and ask you about your experience, how your life is in your own country. And that actually helps you a lot, like, when you’re not a native speaker.
Alexander: My name is Alexander. My surname Igurov. I’m 24 years old. I’m come to the UK from Russia, from Moscow. I’m studying here business English. Sometimes we have general lessons about social English. I’m engineer in the building company. I will use English in my job. I think it will help me to improve my career.
Anthony: My name’s Anthony, and I just turned 24 last February and I’m from Malaysia. The people here are very nice. The place is amazing and learning here is a really different experience, so just come over and check it out.
Well, they seem to be enjoying learning English. And what I’ve learned is, is that the English language is more exciting than I’d first realised. And maybe, just maybe, in the future, I won’t have to worry quite as much about my grammar and spelling.
Order the events in the video.
Choose the right answer.
Put the right word in each space to complete the sentences.
Be careful - not all adverbs need -ly! Add -ly if it is needed.
Why do you think English is the world's most widely used language?
What are the advantages of studying English in an English-speaking country?
Would you like to study English in the UK? Where would you go?
I want to know how to download video section in mobile.....
I'm sorry but for copyright reasons these videos are not available for download. If you want things to listen to on your phone, try our Elementary Podcasts. You could also have a look at our phone apps.
The LearnEnglish Team
i want to learn English, but i don't have idea, how i start learning English? help me Jeremy Bee , how i start learning English.
Jeremy gave advice about this lower down the page to Hakmat Kamal. Do you have any questions that aren't covered by his answer?
The LearnEnglish Team
English is a global language, of course, but the English language spoken here is perfect!
Most people could desire to study in GB, so I'm sure of the people's admiration. They are lucky!
i am agree with you, they are lucky.
Hi, I'm from Argentina and I wanted to know if it would be possible to download these videos as they are very helpful for me. Thanks :)
i need your help how can i improve my English and grammar ?
Hello hakmat kamal!
Well, you should see this website as a library – just borrow whatever interests you! Our Elementary Podcasts are a good place to start. Listen to the podcasts, do the exercises, and talk to other learners about the topic. If you like the Podcasts, try our video series, Word on the Street next. If you want to work on grammar, take a look at our grammar section.
Don't forget that we also have a search box. Put a topic you're interested in into the box – like 'food' or 'the past simple' - and you'll get a list of pages about that topic.
We have a lot of different levels on the site, so don't worry if something is too hard – find something easier, and come back to it later. As I said in answer to your speaking question, just try to look at something ever day!
Hope that helps,
The LearnEnglish Team
Hello everyone!!! I am from beautiful and historical city Samarkand which is known in every country. You know, I've learned whole "Big city Small world" it was very interesting and useful for me. I advice it everyone who are in process of studying English... thank you Learn English team.
Can I find here stories in English, which help me to improve my outlook, intellectual qualities, understanding... ?
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