In this globalized world, almost everyone needs to learn and communicate in at least two languages to succeed. People from different countries are increasingly learning a second or foreign language. Different languages are a resource to educate, socialize, and do business. Learning a second or foreign language can be difficult, and advantages and disadvantages depending on the reasons (Pros and Cons of English).
Despite the challenges, many people still pursue bilingualism or multilingualism. English has become a universal language, and there are about 380 million native English speakers worldwide, and more people are taking English as a foreign or second language. Allocating the English language to the position of a global lingua franca has benefits and negatives for English second language and English foreign language speakers.
Advantages of Global English
There are multiple advantages of Global English, which is increasingly becoming a communication means among numerous dialects. First, English enhances cultural understanding for ESL and EFL speakers globally. For centuries people accumulated and inherited their culture within a single race. However, global English seems to eliminate this restriction, and many cultural works of literature are either written or translated into English (Alfarhan, 2016)(Pros and Cons of English).
Second, English is indispensable in recording history and makes up 28% of the global books published annually. English is currently used to express emotions, ideas, and feelings, influencing the social behavior of people across the world. People can access information and knowledge about members of different races and nations. English links different cultures, and it exposes speakers to other cultures (Pros and Cons of English).
English is useful for cross-cultural understanding because as the speakers communicate in different languages, they are exposed to a different way of thinking. Learning English improves speakers’ communicative competence. It allows people from a variety of cultures to speak directly to one another. English has become an important aspect of intercultural communication competence.
English as a global language boosts the development of the economy. The US being a superpower and a leading world economy influences worldwide English dominance. The US is an English-speaking country with a remarkable influence on the global economy (Pan, 2016). As a result, English has become the top-ranking language used in industries across the world (Pros and Cons of English).
Global English absorbs linguistic communication barriers, streamlining negotiations and cooperation in international business. The English language influenced the economic growth of countries like Brazil, Russia, China, and India by about 30%. Before the adoption of global English, merchants from different countries required numerous translators to do business.
The process was complex and inefficient, but with the rise of Global English, merchants could establish connections efficiently and communicate effectively, making transactions more practical and flexible. As a result, English holds credit for the extraordinary increase in the number of global transactions and deals (Pros and Cons of English).
English has individual economic benefits for ESL and EFL speakers. Moreover, an English-speaking person has a wide range of job opportunities. Consequently, economic trade barriers are decreasing as the international community becomes closer. More global business relationships and more jobs require a bilingual and multilingual person, with English being a primary factor (Pandey & Pandey, 2014)(Pros and Cons of English).
Therefore, knowing English is an asset to access more employment opportunities. Consequently, English-speaking individuals have a wider range of career options. Furthermore, the language will continue to gain more significance with increasing globalization. Hence, almost all sectors look for people with the ability to speak English. Currently, many professions require a command of English, and people who can master it have an advantage over those who cannot(Pros and Cons of English).
There are other advantages for English ESL and EFL speakers, including improvement of self-esteem and self-confidence. Mastering English enables speakers to adapt seamlessly to different language environments, boosting their self-esteem and confidence. Consequently, people can enjoy idioms, music, folk stories, poetry, and literature from various cultures written or translated into English(Pros and Cons of English).
Learning English is vital, especially for students’ socio-emotional, cognitive, and cultural aspects. Global English has become an identity and a status checker in many foreign countries. Moreover, those proficient in the language are considered elite and important members of society. Hence, they are respected and selected to represent other members of society on a global scale.
English increases an individual’s confidence to build relationships with people from different cultures and nations. Communication is an essential aspect of human relationships, and language is a critical enabler in forming relationships. Learning English as a second or foreign language allows speakers to communicate with diverse people and build all types of relationships. English enables people to connect. Speaking in English becomes a core part of self-image and self-identity, influencing how people define who they are(Pros and Cons of English).
Disadvantages of Global English (Pros and Cons of English)
English is also a global liability, and there are some disadvantages to learning English as a second or foreign language. Adopting English as a global language affects the innovation and growth of new languages. Global English affects the development of new dialects and leads to the loss of secrecy in a language that is a crucial part of humans. Many languages are disappearing, and there are no working solutions for the situation (Salomone, 2015).
Global English would only make matters worse. In many countries with multinational and multiethnic communities, people can only speak to each other using English. Many residents discard or reduce the use of their first language since English is enough for people to communicate. The concept of adopting English as a global language is controversial as it contributes to the vanishing of other languages(Pros and Cons of English).
Initially, the importance of the English language was associated with the amount of wealth of domestic English speakers, but, currently, English as a second language is becoming an essential factor for everyone in society. This trend affects local languages that are vanishing gradually. Learning English in non-English speaking countries like China and India never fades away, and people are putting more effort into acquiring it.
According to Gopikrishna (2019), English has affected Indian languages. It has become more popular than Sanskrit, Urdu, and Persian languages. English is considered an official language in India. The English vocabulary is affecting the Indian vocabulary, leading to a collapse of native languages and cultures since culture is inseparable from the language. The disappearance of local languages is catastrophic for any culture(Pros and Cons of English).
The adoption of English as a global language is exerting tremendous pressure on residents and local employees. English is widely used in economics, sciences, culture, and politics, and it is not a mere communication tool but also an essential consideration in job seeking. English speaking skills are a competitive advantage among job speakers (Pandey & Pandey, 2014)(Pros and Cons of English).
People must master English speaking to meet the minimum language competence requirements. Learning English is frustrating, especially word pronunciation, and people spend considerable time, money, and energy acquiring it. Staff can lose jobs if their employers insist on English(Pros and Cons of English).
Similarly, students and people learning English as a second language for education and work purposes report difficulties learning it. Yang & Duan (2016) present difficulties Chinese students in China-United States University programs face regarding listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English. These students encounter challenges in their academic English due to possible language inadequacy.
The pressure is always high to master English to be successful in their studies. The use of global English as the medium of university instruction in France and Italy raises legal, cultural, and pedagogical issues (Salomone, 2015). There is increasing tension between globalization and Europe’s linguistic diversity(Pros and Cons of English).
The rapid development of globalization has led to the rapid spread of English, which has a remarkable impact on global society. Human beings are culturally diverse and need the means to communicate and engage with one another. English has spurred cultural awareness and understanding. People from different nations and cultures can interact at the same level. English has also led to economic improvement in many countries(Pros and Cons of English).
Global English has, however, affected other languages and cultures. The spread of English use led to the disappearance of many native languages. It also burdens and stresses people and employees forced to learn English to remain relevant in the job. This pressure conflicts with the human being. Global English will not fade away any time soon, and it is increasingly becoming more useful and accepted in many regions of the world. Therefore, it is reasonable for ESL and EFL speakers to select English(Pros and Cons of English).
Alfarhan, I. (2016). English as a Global Language and the Effects on Culture and Identity. American Research Journal of English and Literature, 1, 1-6.
Gopikrishna, P. (2019). Impact of English Language on Indian Languages, The Journal for English Language and Literary Studies.
Pan, L. (2016). ENGLISH IS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE IN CHINA. SPRINGER INTERNATIONAL PU.
Pandey, M., & Pandey, P. (2014). Better English for better employment opportunities. International journal of multidisciplinary approach and studies, 1(4), 93-100.
Salomone, R. (2015). The rise of global English: Challenges for English-medium instruction and language rights. Language Problems and Language Planning, 39(3), 245-268.
Yang, X., & Duan, Y. (2016). Difficulties of Chinese Students with Their Academic English: Evidence from a China-United States University Program.