To live in today`s fast-moving competitive world it is absolutely necessary to know and be able to do a lot of things. Knowledge of a foreign language is one of them. About one hundred years ago many educated people learned and spoke French when they met people from other countries. Today most people speak English when they meet foreigners. It has become the new international language. There are more people who speak English as a second language than people who speak English as a first language. Why is this?
There are many reasons why English has become so popular. One of them is that English has become the language of business. Another important reason is that popular American culture has quickly spread throughout the world. It has brought its language with it.
The importance of the English language is stressed by David Crystal in this way: «We may, in due course, all need to be in control of two standard English—the one which gives us our national and local identity, and the other which puts us in touch with the rest of the human race. In effect, we may all need to become bilingual in our own language» [1, 265].
I think, it is good that English has spread to all parts of the world so quickly. It’s important to have a language that the people of the earth have in common. Our world has become very global and we need to communicate with one another. On the other hand, English is a fairly complicated language to learn and it brings its culture with it, and the same time it is the key to further self-education and selfimprovement.
Once computers and mobile phones were the things that only people of a certain social group could afford. Now these things are necessities. The same can be told about English. It is a necessity! It is studied by everybody and everywhere: at schools, universities, language courses. Moreover in the age of digital technologies anyone can learn English on the Internet, without leaving home. However you shouldn’t think that it is so easy to do it. Learning any language is a long process which demands certain expenses, both intellectual, and financial.
The importance of studying English is evident. It is connected with the process of globalization and English language demand both in daily and business communication. Political, economic, scientific, sports life of the whole world is in English too. English is defined as an official and working language of the United Nations. Various summits and meetings of the heads of states, signing of laws and decrees, negotiations and debate – all this is carried out in English. International trade, banking system, activity of transport on the land, on the sea and in the air is carried out in English.
As far as we are concerned, English is very important for us too.
We need English: When we travel
When we apply for a good job
When we communicate with foreigners When we look for information on the Internet
Of course, there are a lot of reasons, why learning English is so important today.
English may not be the most spoken language in the world, but it is the official language in a large number of countries. It is estimated that the number of people in the world that use in English to communicate on a regular basis is 2 billion!
Many of the world’s top films, books and music are published and produced in English. Therefore by learning English you will have access to a great wealth of entertainment and will be able to have a greater cultural understanding.
Most of the content produced on the internet (50%) is in English. So knowing English will allow you access to an incredible amount of information which may not be otherwise available!
Although learning English can be challenging and time consuming, we can see that it is also very valuable to learn and can create many opportunities!
It is difficult to establish how many people in the world speak English. It`s spoken by not just one person, but tens of nations in various parts of the world. English is considered official in more, than 50 countries.
The second U. S. President John Adams told 200 years ago that English would become the «world» language. And this prediction came true by the end of the 20th century. Now 300 million people in the world are native English speakers. And 400 million people who speak English as the second language. The role of English in the world has increased sharply recently that is connected with Internet development where 80% of information is transferred in English.
Among the countries where English is the official language, we can name the following: the historical homeland of English – Great Britain, Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and some countries in South Africa. Let’s note that in three of these countries English is not the only official language. A small part of Irish, for instance, uses the Irish language, for the third of Canadians official language is French, and in South Africa English is official for several million, but not for the majority of inhabitants. English is also an official language in the small states of the Caribbean region which arose on the place of former British colonial possession.
The territorial dispersion of the Englishspeaking countries led to emergence of different variants of English from which British, American and Australian are especially distinguished [3, 23]. Distinctions in pronunciation, especially vowel sounds are most of all noticeable. There are certain distinctions in the value and use of some words and expressions, in details of spelling. Distinctions in grammar are insignificant. Any of these variants can’t be defined as a model for all English-speaking community, so when studying the language one decides for oneself what variant to choose.
About 30 states in Asia and Africa, having become independent as a result of disintegration of the British Empire, kept from colonial times English as official. They wanted to replace it in this function by national languages of their people but it appeared difficult, and sometimes impossible. Among these states, in particular, are India, Pakistan, Singapore in Asia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe in Africa. Total number of the population of such countries exceeds one and a half billion. English is used here in certain spheres – in political life, in public administration, in army, at school, and also for communication between different nationalities. On the whole, the percentage of people who speak English here is very low and therefore it’s hardly necessary to rank these countries as English-speaking.
At last, there is also the lowest level of use of English to which it is possible to refer the countries where by the developed tradition or for some other reasons English is the most preferable, and sometimes the only foreign language studied at school. They are, mainly, the countries of Latin America, Western Europe and Far East. To define the number of people who know English there is impossible. Obviously, Azerbaijan also belongs to these countries.
English began to develop in Azerbaijan only since 1994. It was connected with a Contract of the century. «Contract of the Century» was signed in Baku on September 20, 1994. The signing and realization of the «Contract of the Century» is a brilliant result of conducting right oil policy that comprises the economic development concept of independent Azerbaijan Republic.
The process that began with the «Contract of the Century», which started a new period in the development of Azerbaijan oil industry and economy in general, determined the dynamic development road of Azerbaijan in the XXI century.
All this led to the emergence of new spheres of use of English in Azerbaijan.
The emergence of new environments of use of English in Azerbaijan was promoted also by the development of the whole network of linguistic schools, courses, firms, aiming at distribution of ‘English for communication’.
Now studying English in Azerbaijan becomes one of the major subjects at school and university. It is connected with the fact that English has become
a universal language and besides it is time to the citizens of Azerbaijan to study it at least at the average level. But still many people don’t want or refuse to study any foreign language at all.
There is an EF EPI (EF English Proficiency Index) defining the level of proficiency in English in the countries, where it is not the official language. The first five places take
Sweden Denmark Netherlands Finland Norway
In this index Azerbaijan approximately takes 39th place!
As a conclusion , I can say that every ambitious and self-respecting person should know this language.
- Crystal David. The English Language. – London: Penguin, 1988
- Crystal David. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1997
- McArthur, T. The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford University Press, 1992
- Jenkins, Jennifer. World Englishes. – London: Routledge, 2003\