The Far-Reaching Influence of the English Language

by Amy Nutt

As globalization takes hold of our collective society, the English language is quickly becoming the universal language for many reasons. For one, business across borders as well as over the internet, whether it is conducted by small companies or multi-national corporations is largely conducted in English. Global politics and diplomacy are largely conducted in English as well. In fact, English is the world’s second largest native language, the official language in 70 countries, and English-speaking nations are responsible for about 40 percent of the world’s total Gross National Product. Part of this can be attributed to the USA’s status as a major world power in economic, political and military aspects and by the huge influence of American movies.

The Internet

The internet was developed chiefly in America, and whether that is an influential factor or not, the majority of Web sites and Web pages are in English. People from all over the world access these English-language sites on a daily basis. This indicates that there are a many people all over the world who can at least read minimal amounts of English – enough to browse the Web.

Popular Culture

English can be at least understood on at least some level almost everywhere in the world among scholars and educated people. The English language is also widely recognized as the world’s media language, and the chief language of cinema, TV, pop music and as aforementioned, the computer world. All over the planet, even people who don’t necessarily speak the language know many English words, their pronunciation and meaning.

Countries Where English is Taught in School

Because of the English language’s far-reaching popularity and use all over the world, many non-English speaking countries are now introducing English lessons in their public and/or private school systems. Some of the countries that include the English language in their school curriculum do so for one or more of the reasons mentioned above. Other countries are simply forward-thinking in that they can see a degree of universality to the language that will offer its students greater opportunity. Other countries have their own, unrelated reasons for teaching English in their schools. No matter what the motivation, below is a list of countries that currently offer English as a second language in their schools:

– Asia – People’s Republic of China – Japan – South Korea – Taiwan – Singapore (English is taught as a first language here) – India – Nepal – Middle East and North Africa – United Arab Emirates – Kuwait – Oman – Egypt (English is mandatory from the 4th grade on) – European Union – Austria – Belgium – Bulgaria – Cyprus – Czech republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – Germany – Greece – Hungary – Ireland – Italy – Latvia – Lithuania – Luxembourg – Malta – The Netherlands – Poland – Portugal – Romania – Slovakia – Slovenia – Spain – Sweden – United Kingdom – Latin America – Argentina – Chile – Columbia – Costa Rica – Guatemala – Honduras – Mexico – Panama – Venzuela


As you can see, English is increasingly being taught to elementary, middle school and high school students all over the world. In many of the schools in the countries listed above English is either mandatory, or offered as a foreign language study much like Spanish and French are taught in the U.S. In other countries, learning English is offered as an option to those elite members of society who are in the position to pay for private school or tutoring.

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