SUMMER 2016 ESSAY WINNER
VANESSA DE VERGEZAC – IEP LEVEL 7
TOPIC: SHOULD ENGLISH REMAIN THE “LINGUA FRANCA”
Undoubtedly, English is currently a universal language, understood by scientists and educated people. It is also the language of film, television, pop music, and the world of computing. Everywhere on the planet, humans know at least a few words. In spite of the native culture, it is quite easy to learn.
For instance, Hungarian is a complex language unlikely to be used overseas; as opposed to Thai or Chinese, which are not that complex in their grammar or declination of their verbs, and are written with ideograms, they are also tonal languages. This makes the learning harder than the Latin alphabet of English. For all these reasons and even more, English is the first or second language in 67 countries. Yet, should it be the Lingua Franca for business? I do not think so.
Globalization is growing increasingly rapidly because of trade and internet. As a result, languages are disappearing faster than before. All countries have different cultures and the smallest populations are being left out because the English language is becoming more used every day. Historically, English people colonized lots of territory all around the world, crushing the native languages. Big and small communities need business to survive. Currently, they are privileging this aspect at the expense of their own traditions. This is suicide and English-speaking people with their immigration are killing them. Diversity is a very important study and part of our world, especially today.
Less developed countries want to be like European or North American ones. They want to be as successful as them. Globalization can help them to reach their goal, but at the same time, they are exploited by their models. Like a child who likes and desires to be someone famous, they forget their own personalities. So they learn English, which is the first step towards communicating with others. After that, they obtain information to be able to do as they do. When they are more ambitious, they leverage this knowledge in order to be concurrent.
For the very small and very poor communities, it is harder to learn English. Apprenticeship has a cost in money and time. Unfortunately not everybody can afford this. In these small and poor communities, they have so much to do just to survive that they are not able to improve their lifestyles. Wealthy countries do not want to help them in this way. They prefer to benefit from their situations and loot them in exchange for a small amount of money, food, medicine or knowledge. These little populations do what they can, but because they do not have the skills to understand how they are being fooled, they accept this.
To sum up, I believe that English should not remain the lingua franca for business because powerful companies, governments and people abuse their influence. They use their language in order to dominate the weakest populations and to impose their own culture worldwide. Since these powerful nations succeed in doing this, they become stronger and even have the support of these victims. They convince them that it is the best for them, leaving aside what the truth is, which is that they are actually victims of globalization. English is a simple language, easy and fast to learn, applicable in many cultures and already implemented across the globe. Due to the facility of English, is it fair to use it as a tool for wealthy countries to torment the frailest ones? More importantly, is it really profitable for everyone?