Language can be used to both unite and divide. Cultures joined by a common language can spread ideas faster and easier than those without one. This truth is universal and, in many ways, is older than civilization itself. After all, traced back through the centuries stories like the Tower of Babel bear witness to the idea that language has long been used to divide people. At the same time, however, the idea of a lingua franca, of a universal language, is perhaps just as old. Many have vied for the title, but over the centuries, languages have come and gone. These languages, spread by the sword and connected so closely to their empires, fell along with them. The Aramaic of the Persians was replaced by Alexander the Great’s Greek, which itself was supplanted by the Latin of Rome. Latin in turn fell to French (from which the phrase lingua franca itself originates) but French, too, fell to the wayside. English instead has come to dominate the modern world — based not on political power but on an empire of ideas.
The “English empire,” whose “kingdom” is made up of popular culture and international commerce, is more geographically dispersed than Rome’s ever was and highlights the importance of learning English for school. Indeed, because English plays such a central role in the ongoing process of globalization, it has become the world’s preeminent language.
This cohort, nearly 700 million strong, swells to fully 1.5 billion speakers when counting those who use English occasionally for business or pleasure. 1 in 5 people around the world speak some English, and their numbers are growing every day. As a result, English plays an increasingly essential role in today’s global marketplace. Indeed, English is now the common language spoken in corporate boardrooms, top universities, and anywhere the international community gathers..
As a result, learning English for school has taken on a new importance. Because English is taught – and spoken – so widely throughout the world, it serves as a common medium for people from different cultures.
Students from Belgium and Burundi communicate not in French or Swahili but in English; meaning that if you know some English words, you can communicate with people from all over the world.
Learning English for school can improve your academic opportunities. Some of the world’s best colleges and universities are located in English-speaking countries and use English as their medium of exchange. To be eligible to attend college in the UK, for example, students must demonstrate their English proficiency – skills which they can develop through separate English immersion programs.
Likewise, English proficiency is an invaluable professional skill. Major corporations now have operations that span the globe – and more and more of them use English as their common language. As a result, English can become your ticket to the world at large, because with it, you can work in fields as diverse as finance and physics and in places as disparate as Buenos Aires and Bombay.
Thus, as you can see, English can lead you to new and unimaginable opportunities. Although challenging, language schools and immersion programs can be the keys to your success. After all, as we have seen, if you are proficient in English, the possibilities are limitless.