Fluency in English is one of the most important skills in this 21st century. Currently, 67 countries in the world have English as an official or national language. Don’t we all have the question at least once in our mind that how did English spread all over the world like this?
Today we will learn how and when the English language transformed from a common language to an international language.
If we aim at a little history, we will find that more than one-third of the world was ruled by the British. By 1922, 458 million people were under British rule. In 25% of the world, where British rule prevailed, English was considered a high-class language. From job aspirants to businessmen, knowing English became a must since English was the lingua franca of the British. Because of this, English is known as a ‘Language of Elite ‘ among the common people.
But by the year 1950, the British colony began to see its end. And even after India gained independence in 1947, English remained the official language in several British colonies. There are different reasons for this in different countries; When India or the then Pakistan was rewriting their constitution, there was a lot of controversy on this issue. While writing the Constitution of India, many demanded that ‘ Hindustani ‘ (the combined language of Hindi-Urdu) should be recognized as the official language of India. But many scholars oppose it. Dr. B. And according to Ambedkar, if only Hindi was recognized as the official language, then the minorities of India would be less important than others.
As we know, America is one of the English speaking countries in the world, but many other languages were in vogue in America in the eighteenth century. When America gained its independence from the British in 1783, they also felt that America as a whole needed to have a specific identity—one that would hold each American state together. And naturally there is no second identity greater than language; For America, that language was English . Although other languages were used in America at that time, English was the most important language to hold the American states together. So dominant that in the early 20th century many states outlawed the teaching of other languages. However, around 1923, the US Supreme Court declared this prohibition illegal.
Effects of World War
This question may arise in everyone’s mind, how did English spread its influence in those countries which were not under the British colonial rule? The answer lies in World War II, in which the Allies (Britain, America and the then Soviet Union) won against the Enemy (Italy, Germany and Japan).
Naturally, whichever party or alliance wins the war, the culture and language of that alliance has more influence in the world than the rest. So, since Britain and USA won the World War, their language (English) spread throughout the world. Also, America becoming a superpower after World War II is also a reason behind the spread of English throughout the world.
In World War II, where every other country suffered huge losses, America suffered almost no losses in the same war. They make huge money by supplying weapons in war. That is why in the post-war period, when many countries were starving, America’s economic situation was strengthened.
After the Second World War, with the help of capitalism, American business enterprises spread around the world, thus English became a business language. Soon, American pop stars and music bands began writing their own songs in English and held concerts around the world. The same thing can be observed in Hollywood. American songs, images and movies become a global sensation .
World War II played an important role in giving English the status of an international language, as many believe that if Hitler’s forces had won the war, German would have been the world’s language instead of English.
It may sound strange but the truth is that the contribution of the Internet to the dominance of English in the world is also outstanding. The home of the Internet is America, and all Internet-related institutions are also founded in America. Moreover, the first keyboard and typewriter were also invented by Americans . So naturally the keyboards and typewriters of the time were all made in the English language. Along with this, English language is available on computers and mobile phones. According to ‘w3tech.com’, 58.6% of the content of the entire internet in the world is made in English language.