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.
English is the most widely used language in the world due to many reasons and of them because of colonization history. The British Empire colonized and conquered many countries including my country in East Asia, South East Asia, Africa, South America and other remote places making it the largest empire. The natives in these places had to learn English to communicate with their English superiors therefore over time even after they have reached independence English is still widely used to a certain extent in governance and education. Aside from that, it's the language used in trades and business. Because its users are from all backgrounds, it's the chosen language for dealings so as cross border trades bloom so does English. Furthermore, inventions and technology sprout like mushroom in the west so to keep abreast with these new findings and creations, others have to pick up the language.
Numerous advantages actually could be gained if we learn it in its native country for instance we're frankly speaking going to be immersed in it as 24-7 we're going to be surrounded by it be it in public places, at work and even on all entertainment tools like radio, television and podcasts not to mention social media. This total immersion will ensure that we'll get all the opportunities to quicken our learning curve.
Now that I've learned about British Council, I would definitely head to any of its centers in the UK. And, I will most likely accept any offers to learn English in a native speaking country like the UK.
I'm very glad you enjoyed them! In informal speaking, people often say 'there is' when really 'there are' is the most correct form. I'd recommend you use the correct form, but it's good to know this when you hear native speakers 'break' the rule.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team
You can use either 'the most' or 'most' or even 'most of all' as adverbs to modify the verb here and there is no difference in meaning.
The LearnEnglish Team