The Popularity of English
Good morning, every one. Today's lecture is about the popularity of English. As we all know, English is widely used in the world.
Although English is not the language with the largest number of native or first language speakers, it has really become a lingua franca.
Then what is a lingua franca?
The term refers to a language which is widely adopted for communication between two speakers whose native languages are different from each other's,
and where one or both speakers are using it as a second language.
For example, when an Indian talks to a Singaporean using English, then English is the lingua franca.
Then actually how many people speak English as either a first or a second language?
Some researchers suggested a few years ago that between 320－380 million people spoke English as a first language, and anyway between 250－350 million as a second language.
And of course, if we include people who are learning English as a foreign language all over the world, that number may increase dramatically.
Then we may ask a question: how did English get there?
That is, how did English gain the present status of popularity? There are in fact a number of interlocking reasons for the popularity of English as a lingua franca.
Many of the reasons are historical, but they also include economic and cultural factors that have influenced and sustained the spread of the language.
Let's go through the reasons one by one.