FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN MODERN SOCIETY
Knowledge of foreign languages helps to promote cultural, educational and technical cooperation among nations. That’s why one of the characteristic features of life in our country today is a great interest in the study of foreign languages – chiefly English.
At present English is the most important of the world’s languages. In number of speakers it ranks second. The rise of English is a remarkable success story. When Julius Caesar landed in Britain nearly two thousand years ago English did not exist. Today English is used by at least 750 million people, and barely half of those speak it as a mother tongue.
Some estimate have put that figure closer to one billion. Whatever the total, English, at the beginning of the 21st century is more widely spoken and written, than any other language has ever been. It has become the language of the planet, the first truly global language.
Three-quarters of the world’s mail, and its telexes and cables, are in English. So are more than half the world’s technical and scientific periodicals: it is the language of technology from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. English is the medium for 80 per cent of the information stored in the world’s computers. Nearly half of all business deals in Europe are conducted in English. It is the language of sports and glamour: the official language of the Olympics and the Miss Universe Competition. English is the official voice of the air and sea, and of Christianity: it is the ecumenical language of the World Council of Churches. Five of broadcasting companies in the world (CBS, NBS, ABC, BBC, CBS) transmit in English to audiences that regularly exceed one hundred million.
The use of English in diplomacy, commerce and science is evidence of its importance.
That’s why many millions of people learn it as a second language
2. to promote
5. to exist
Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1851