Today, English can be found everywhere. Teaching English is a billion dollar industry. Approximately, 80% of what’s stored on the internet is in English. Travel abroad to any large city you will find signs in English. A main cause of this is American influence. Hollywood, McDonalds and Dairy Queen have all left their mark on the international stage. It is no wonder you can find English speakers everywhere, even in some remote areas. “The linguist David Graddol cites figures saying that 500 million to a billion people speak English now, as either a first or second language.” As the world gets smaller more people are learning English. Does this mean that people will stop using their native tongue?
What if English did take over the world? I mean, what if all other languages became extinct what would happen? Would this mean we would all have the same culture, because we speak the same language? Of course not! We would still have different foods, different clothes, different holidays and more. As a Yankee (someone from the Northern US) I would never call a carbonated drink a “soda” or ask for a “Coke” and expect to hear “What kind?” nor would I expect a southern to understand what a hot dish is. Although we are all Americans we still have different subcultures. Even with a single language, cultures would still vary and tourism would still be going strong. If the change to a single universal language means tourism would end then answer me why then do so many Americans go to Australia or Australians go to England?
It is no longer a question of whether to stop the spread of English. We’ve already crossed that line and there is no turning back. The question is whether to embrace it or not. As a native English speaker it is to my advantage to encourage the spread of English. It certainly would make foreign travel easier. But as a translator and a lover of languages in general, I have to admit I enjoy the challenge of making someone, who does not understand English, understand. Thankfully, this is not a decision I have to make on my own! What do you think?