How important is to speak English today?

Nowadays around 1.5 billion people speak English, but the way in which they do so differs according to the country in which this language is spoken. In fact, only a small amount of these are native speakers. The majority of who speak English is not born in a country where it is an official language. It sounds like a curious phenomenon, doesn’t it?
It is due to the fact that English occupies a fundamental role in our society, that is it represents the language of international communication. For instance, if you travel to Germany and you can’t manage to communicate with German people, they may ask you if you speak English, and this occurs almost always, when you are speaking to foreign people. There is another practical example which could make it clearer: think about all the advertising boards written in English that you see every day along Italian ways. But how is it possible?
Linguistics have always claimed that it does not exist an idiom that is better than another one. However, it is undeniable that today English is spoken by everyone in every context. Even in Italy, where English is not the official language, people use it in everyday communication. Words like “audience”, “boss”, “bodyguard” or “contest” are usually employed in Italian sentences. It deals with what is technically known as anglicisms, that is, following the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition, “an English word or phrase that is used in another language”. Thus, you speak English in daily communication without being aware of it.

The truth is that English has obtained its leading position thanks to the globalization process which connects every corner of the whole world. However, there are some historians who believe that maybe the most important impact of the position English holds today was its colonial past. History books tell us that, starting from the XVI century, the Great Britain inaugurated an extraordinary period of expansion. In certain areas, such as in North America and the West Indies, British colonizers forced indigenous people to learn English. It is not by chance that a lot of countries, which were British colonies, now recognize English as their official language. For example, it is what happened in South Africa, where Nigerian people took over English language during the colonial era.
Moreover, from a professional perspective it is essential to work hard to improve your English. For instance, if you are looking for a job, linguistic certifications could definitely help you. They enrich amazingly your CV, allowing you to get at great career opportunities. Personally, I’ve been looking for a job since I have finished the school and, wherever I was, they requested for an English certification. This occurred everywhere, even when speaking English had nothing to do with your assignments. The reason is obvious: the more languages you speak, the more attractive you will be for companies, especially as regards the largest ones.
What are you waiting for? Let’s work on it!

Elvira Donato

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