By Luiz Inácio Caribé Cincurá de Andrade
Almost fifty countries are represented by the students who attend Sanz School. Evidently, we students know that is important to speak English, but we may not know how to explain it very well. Right now, let´s immerse ourselves in this subject.
The English language, one of the major languages of the world, is used regularly by more than 320 million people, and it is second only to Chinese because China has such a huge population.
Of the 3,000 or more tongues spoken today, about six predominate, having among their speakers two-thirds of the world´s population. English, as one of those influential and growing languages, is spoken in areas widely scattered over the planet. It is the native or official language of one-fifth of the earth´s land surface, in particular in most of North America, the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of South Africa. As a language of colonization, it has become important in Nigeria, Uganda, Guyana, India, Hong Kong, and many islands in the Central and South Pacific.
At present, English is the most-widely studied language in areas where it is not the native language. It is the chief foreign language taught in the schools of Latin America and European countries. In Japan, children begin to study English as early as the age of two. In the Philippines, all classes are conducted in English from the fourth grade on. In India, English is an official language alternative to Hindi, the chief official language.
In addition, the use of English is widespread in international trade, international scholarship, and scientific research. More than half of the world´s scientiic and technical journals, as well as newspaper, are printed in English. 75% of the world´s mail is writed in English, and English is the language of 80% of the world´s radio stations. The Soviet Union and China use English in their propaganda broadcasts to many developing countries in Africa and Asia. The U.S. Information Agency, with its centers and libraries in various countries, and the British Council and its English language schools aid greatly in spreading the language. As a result, a speaker of English can travel in most cities around the world and almost never find it necessary to speak any other language.
After the Cold War, and with the resulting predominancy of Capitalism over Communism, the natural way to development found by countries was the open up their economies. So many countries need people to work in international companies using the international language of English.
In addition, the development of communication linking nations through sattellite tecnology and the internet has broken all barriers of long-distance communication and has permitted us to exchange a lot of information in a short time, bringing the world´s nations closer to one another, connecting them with the English language. Basically, the English language is a bridge between the cultures of the world.
In conclusion, speaking English can make you a citizen of the world. Don´t you think it´s a god idea to take your English studies seriosly, then ?
Article published with exclusiveness in the first page of the newspaper The Sanz Voice, of the Sanz School, an english school for foreigners, located in Washington - D.C. U.S.A. May 1999.