Unit I. English language as a world language

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Настоящий сборник тематических текстов представляет собой набор аутентичных текстов из британских и американских периодических изданий. Сборник предназначен для эффективной организации самостоятельной работы студентов языковых вузов, а также для всех желающих усовершенствовать навыки чтения оригинальной литературы.

Основной целью пособия является дальнейшее совершенствование речевых умений и навыков устной и письменной коммуникации. Пособие включает 7 разделов, соотносящихся с актуальными темами, обсуждаемыми в современных учебниках.

Тексты подобраны согласно следующей тематики:

  1. Английский как мировой язык.

  2. Путешествия.

  3. Здоровый образ жизни. Традиционная и нетрадиционная медицина.

  4. Страны третьего мира. Демографическая ситуация.

  5. Семейные проблемы.

  6. Расовые предрассудки.

  7. Женщины и современное общество.

Представленные тексты значительно облегчат студентам процесс работы над презентациями, подготовку к дискуссиям на указанные темы, а также обогатят их речь, расширят и углубят понимание данных тем.

Пособие дает возможность преподавателю использовать альтернативные виды заданий, а также может послужить основой для проведения занятий с использованием инновационных методов обучения.



Millions of people are learning English. One billion people speak English. That's 20% of the world's population. 400 mln people speak English as their first language. For the other 600 min it's either a second language or a foreign language.

In other countries it is used as a second language: it is a way in which people who have different languages communicate with each other. This is especially true in many parts of Africa and India. In these countries and former British colonies like Malta and Hong Kong, as well as some countries like the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, English is an "official language'.

Why? Because it's the most important international language in the world. But how did it become so important?

Did you know that English is a member of a language family that includes ancient languages like Ancient Greek and Latin, lan­guages such as Urdu and Persian, Slavonic languages such as Russian and Polish as well as most European languages including French, Spanish, Swedish and German?

It is called a "family" of languages because all of the languag­es in that group have the same original roots. The family that English belongs to is the Indo-European family, and English began to develop in about A.D. 450, when Anglo-Saxon invaders came from Germany. Before this invasion, the spoken language in Eng­land was a form of Celtic, similar to Welsh or Gaelic (the lan­guage spoken in Ireland). By about A.D. 700, the Anglo-Saxon tribes had occupied almost all of England as far as the borders of Wales, Scotland and Cornwall, and their language domi­nated. Thus Old English is sometimes called Anglo-Saxon, and the word Eng­land means 'land of the Angles'.

As Anglo-Saxons were farmers, many of their words are still in the dictionary today: sheep, earth, dog, field, work, the, is, you. Latin appeared in Britain first when the Romans came in A.D.43, but only a few Latin words entered then the Celtic language. Hundreds of Latin and Greek words flooded old English when Saint Augustine brought Christianity to Britain in A.D. 597.

Old English was clearly a Germanic language – it was more like modern German and Dutch than modern English. It was af­fected by the languages of other invaders such as the Vikings, who came from Scandinavia in the ninth century, and the Nor­mans who came from France in 1066. The Normans used Latin for official business, but spoke French in daily life, so at this time there were three languages used in England. Because the rulers used French and Latin, many specialized words, especially those connected with government, law, learning or the army, have come into English from French or Latin, while words for more everyday things are from Old English.

In the next 200 years, OE with all its new Norse, Latin and French vocabulary changed and became 'Middle English". Two great names are connected with it: Geoffrey Chaucer and Wil­liam Shakespeare. William Shakespeare had a vocabulary of 30,000 words. In his time only 6 or 7 mln people spoke English.

The export of English began in the Elizabethan Age' (1558-1603) due to Sir Francais Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh who brought England a lot of land, money and power and who spread English to the new world and the West Indies. The English lan­guage went also to Australia with Captain Cook (1770). In 1620 "Mayflower" sailed to America, in the next 30 years more than 250,000 people from all over Britain followed the pio­neers".

Between 1800 and 1900 Britain became the richest country in the world and the most powerful. The British Empire included many foreign countries like New Zealand, Nigeria, India, Canada, South Africa; English was an important language on every continent. At the same time the USA and its language – both grew very quickly in the 19th century. These were the days of cowboys, Indians, gold and railways. 6 mln Europeans began new lives in America. They came from Italy, Germany, Ireland, Scandinavia and Central Europe, hav­ing brought new words and expressions to American English. Finally by the 1950s America was the English-speaking super­power.

In fact American English is growing faster now that ever be­fore. The new words come from people of South-east Asia and Central America, from scientists and teenagers. Over 70% of the World's scientists read English. And 90% of all information is stored in English. English is used for many purposes. Vocabularies, gram­matical forms and ways of speaking and writing have emerged influenced by technological and scientific developments, econo­mics and management, literature and entertainment genres.

English is the language of summit meetings and the UNO. English is also becoming increasingly the language of internation­al trade: nearly 50% of all the companies in Europe communicate with each other in English. 75% of all international telexes and letters are in English. 80% of all information in the world's com­puters is in English. Pop singers writing their songs often use ly­rics or phrases in English. America and Britain export 1000s of films and TV programmes every year. The International Olym­pic Committee meets in Lausanne, the official language of all the meeting is English. Now English words have started to become a part of other languages, too. In France, this new vocabulary is called "Franglais" (the mixture of English and French words); in Spain – Spanglish, in Japan – Japtish, in Sweden – Swinglish.

So, English is slowly becoming more than one language. Eng­lish is changing in many countries of the Third World – which Were once a part of the British Empire – now they're indepen­dent. For example in Jamaica. There are 2 kinds of English in this West Indian Island. One is standard – the language of the go­vernment and newspapers and the other is Creole – the day-to­day language of the people.

In Sierra Leone they speak Krio – 80% of the words in the Krio dictionary come from English. In India you can hear 3 lan­guages: Hindi, Indian English and the local Indian language. 1/3 of the world's population lives near the Pacific Ocean in Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Hawaii, California, Australia, New Zealand, Singa­pore and Malaysia. English is an important first, second or foreign language in all these countries.

So, English is becoming more than one language, but it doesn't mean the end of Standard English and the stronger position of local dialects in the future.

People will still need Standard English for international com­munication in the 21st century. The future isn't local or standard, it is local and standard. English has been an international language for only 50 years. The world is in transition and English may take new forms, but it may also supplement or co-exist with languages by allowing stran­gers to communicate across linguistic boundaries. It may become one tool that opens widows to the world, unlocks doors to oppor­tunities and expands our minds to new ideas.

Answer the questions:

        1. What are the main trends in the development of English as international language?

        2. What spheres has the international English found its application in modern world?

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