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Geographical Spread vs Industrial Revolution

Questions:

1.Do you think the geographical spread of English or the Industrial revolution was more Important in making English the Global Language? Why?

2.Do you think learners should be taught a native variety of English? Explain your answer using what you have learnt in this class.

1.I think the industrial revolution was more important in making English the global language as compared to geographical spread. This is because as far as geographical expansion is concerned, the language could only be exported to regions where the original English speakers colonized. Such countries were limited and cannot justify why English has been adopted globally. Geographical spread could only go as far as the colonial explorers could go (Melitz, 2016). The logistical challenges of conquering many countries stood in their way and they could only colonize few countries. It is also important to note that these countries were not willing recipients of the language because of the approach of undermining of local culture which the British mostly adopted. Industrial revolution on the other hand was compelling because countries across the world needed to access industrial knowledge that was mainly held by the British. British were the leader of industrial revolution and as such, the early technological advances were coded in the English language (Dudley, 2016). The telegraph, for example, was initially based on the English language and was at that time a revolutionary tool for communication envied by countries across the world. Geographical spread of the English language, therefore which was mainly done through colonial conquest could not spread the language to current proportions as effectively as the Industrial revolution did. British colonialists, in their quest to conquer the world, used the English language for expansion (Kumaravadivelu, 2016). This conquest could only happen in specific countries given that there were also other countries engaged in colonialism also. Such countries included the French, Germany and the Portuguese among other powerful countries. The strength of the industrial revolution lay in its power to go beyond territorial and language barriers. The recipients of the English language through Industrial revolution were also willing participants as compared to those adopting it through colonialism. Colonialism was mostly spread through crude means that often involved the suppression of local cultures and violation of human rights. This left distasteful experiences about the British by the locals (Neeley and Dumas, 2016). For this reason, they did not readily adopt the language of the people they considered oppressors. In the Caribbean for example, the African slaves developed such negative attitudes towards English that they decided to develop their own language, creoles, as a means of communicating among themselves. Despite the British conquest in the Caribbean, the language shares national status with Spanish (Giampapa and Canagarajah, 2017). It is evident that the colonialists spread English through mostly brute force and therefore experienced a lot of resistance in the early stages. The Industrial revolution however, was a force that took the world by storm and in order to fully benefit from its gains, it was imperative that countries learn the language. They did so mainly for their own benefit as opposed to the forceful mean which the colonialists mostly adopted to spread the language.

The Role of British Colonialism


British colonialists played a great role in taking English beyond the boundaries of Britain in the early days. Given that Britain was the greatest political, economic and Industrial power in the world in the 18th century, the country leveraged on its superiority to spread its language wherever it conquered nations through colonialism. Anew political force, however, began to emerge from America towards the end of the 19th century. America is much bigger that Britain and its rise to the apex of political superiority helped spread it culture faster. The Adoption of the English language as a global language happened at a time when international organizations had decided to come together. The need to communicate among them arose but it was becoming expensive to use the different language of the speakers to communicate and for this reason, they decided to adopt the English language for this purpose (Lucas Jr, 2017). The creation of the United Nations, whose headquarters was located in New York, was also a push factor for the English language. The world, in response shifted its focus to the USA. Today America continues to enjoy elevated status given its superiority in social, political and cultural advancement.  The United Nations body is now expanded and has operation in majority of countries in the world. It is through such agencies, which have gained great reputation in promotion of peace and humanitarian assistance among other roles that America continues to spread its values of modern societies that promote freedom of expression. English remains the official language of communication in the UN (Gayton, 2016). It continues to spread these values by the use of the English language. America’s influence continues through the mass media and political influence that is mainly facilitated through English. The spread of democracy, for instance, which is chiefly an American concept, is touted as the most progressive form of government. America also continues to spread its values of freedom and human rights and thus help to propagate English as a global language. America’s political, cultural and political superiority has done a lot to legitimize English globally more that what the colonialists did in early days during their conquest of the world. America continues to propel the use of English through such innovations that are internet linked. Social media sites and other applications based on the World Wide Web spread quickly across the world in real time and transmit culture in speeds never seen before. British colonialists laid the foundation for English to spread but their means of doing so were limited. During the colonial times, the level of communication technology was only rudimentary and could not accomplish the great feats that the Television and internet enabled communication achieves today. Britain’s diminished status as a superpower has also lowered its influence on the cultures of the world. For this reason, I believe America continues to play a more important role in popularizing English worldwide especially through the internet.

The Emergence of American Influence


2.The native variety of English should be taught to learners because English is a global language. The learners can become expert communicators across the world if they adopted this language in the same way as it is spoken elsewhere. There are varieties of the English language which have been adopted by various speakers. These varieties sometimes incorporate local dialects and are conveniently used to communicate to a limited group of persons. However, different variations of English can be confusing to speakers who are not familiar with the particular dialects. I recommend that native varieties of English be limited to the social space so that the universally spoken English is taught in school. Two major variations of English exist in the world today; the British and the American English. These two can be taught to countries that adopt these different sounds. Any speaker identifying with any of these two varieties will be in a better place to transact business and interact with people across the world on various aspects.


Native varieties are limiting and should not be encouraged in the current globalizing world. However, it must also be acknowledged that English is a dynamic language whose vocabulary keeps growing with time (Paradis and Jia, 2017). There should be no rigidity when learning the English language as speakers should be prepared to adopt new aspect so the language with time. There are several countries that have adopted varieties of English customized to their local situations. Such countries include India, Nigeria and Pakistan among other countries. These speakers incorporate words in their local dialects and use pronunciations that favor them (Leitner et al., 2016) . When it comes to transacting with people who do not subscribe to those versions of English however, the get a challenge because they are not able to pass their messages across. People seeking further education will also find it a challenge to communicate in the English when they travel to foreign countries (Tuck and Gorlewski, 2016). This is because the facilitation may be limited to the universally spoken variety of the language. Such learners will have challenges both in communication as well as learning crucial information in their areas of study.


This challenge can also be experienced by persons seeking employment opportunities in foreign countries. In order for them to survive in those countries, they will have to express themselves in a language that their hosts can understand. Since English is now a universal language, it is vital that such speakers be well versed with it in the universal version (Rose and Galloway, 2016).  Business persons across have opportunities to trade across the globe in the current globalized world. It is therefore imperative upon teachers to teach pupils on how to express themselves in the universal version of the English language so that they do not limit their opportunities in the future. Language should be able to facilitate communication and for this reason, I discourage the teaching of native varieties of English to schools.

References

Dillon, A. (2016). An exploration of linguistic neo-colonialism through educational language policy–an Irish perspective. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 14(3), 97-130.

Dudley, L. (2016). Language standardization and the Industrial Revolution. Oxford Economic Papers, gpw059.

Gayton, A. M. (2016). Perceptions About the Dominance of English as a Global Language: Impact on Foreign-Language Teachers’ Professional Identity. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 15(4), 230-244.

Giampapa, F., & Canagarajah, S. (2017). Skilled migration and global English.

Haywood, I. (2016). Reforming Ideas in Britain: Politics and Language in the Shadow of the French Revolution, 1789–1815; British Drama of the Industrial Revolution.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2016). The decolonial option in English teaching: can the subaltern act?. TESOL quarterly, 50(1), 66-85.

Leitner, G., Hashim, A., & Wolf, H. G. (Eds.). (2016). Communicating with Asia: The future of English as a global language. Cambridge University Press.

Lucas Jr, R. E. (2017). What Was the Industrial Revolution? (No. w23547). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Melitz, J. (2016). English as a global language. In The Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language (pp. 583-615). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Neeley, T. B., & Dumas, T. L. (2016). Unearned status gain: Evidence from a global language mandate. Academy of Management Journal, 59(1), 14-43.

Paradis, J., & Jia, R. (2017). Bilingual children's long?term outcomes in English as a second language: language environment factors shape individual differences in catching up with monolinguals. Developmental science, 20(1).

Rose, H., & Galloway, N. (2016). Debating standard language ideology in the classroom: using the ‘Speak Good English Movement’to raise awareness of Global Englishes. RELC Journal, 0033688216684281.

Tuck, E., & Gorlewski, J. (2016). Racist ordering, settler colonialism, and edTPA: A participatory policy analysis. Educational Policy, 30(1), 197-217.

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