Does English continue to be international languages? Part 1

As we have seen so far, English is not really necessary for work. Nevertheless many people think they have to learn English. Why is that?


Many Japanese will respond to this question promptly. “Because English is an international language.”


There is no doubt that in the meantime English is an international language. However, do not look at only now, where education is an investment for the future.


Even though English is definitely sure to continue to be an international language for the future, even if you do not need much English at work so far, everyone ought to learn English hard. But in the future, if there is a possibility that English will not be an international language anymore, they must hedge against risk with that possibility in mind.


Why is English an international language in the first place? It is not because English is a good language nor is it a standard language. England and the United States got the hegemony of the world in this order.


The fact that English is the international language now is the fact that the country that holds the hegemony of the world is the United States.


In other words, the current status of English as an international language is based on the following two facts.


  1. American use English

  2. America has the world’s hegemony


In other words, if either or both of these are not established, the status as an English international language will be shaken.



Does America continue to hold the hegemony of the world?

Many languages are spoken in America which is an immigrant society. There are also 20% of the people speaking in a language other than English at home. In the California collection, English speakers are only 60% of the population.


It’s just that English in the United States is the most influential language among several languages. Except English, the overwhelming majority of speakers are Spanish spoken by Hispanic immigrants. Moreover, Spanish speakers are rapidly increasing. Because Hispanic immigrants have high birth rates.


In 1980, the number of Spanish speakers living in the United States which was 11 million people has reached 40 million in 2008. One in eight Americans speak Spanish. Besides, half of them can only speak Spanish. The number of 40 million people exceeds the number of Spanish speakers in Spain.


By 2050, the number of Spanish speakers in the United States will reach 132 million, there is also prediction that the US will be the country with the world’s biggest Spanish population.


It can not be said that there is no possibility that the United States will become a Spanish country in the future. It is likely to be at least English and Spanish.


Someday the American supremacy ends. The Roman Empire and the Mongol Empire declined soon. If you look at the history since the modern era, the hegemony of the world has been shifting from Spain to the Netherlands to the United Kingdom to the United States.


It is difficult to assume that it will continue for a long time just by saying that it is America now that happens to be the one by chance.



Thank you for reading.

【To be continued】


Also see:

1. Why All Japanese Think They Need To Speak English

2. English Education Has Aspects Of Voluntary Colonization

3. English Imperialism has destructed Eskimo?

4. Misunderstandings of English in Japan

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