Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Is English suited to being the International Language?

Well, this is an interesting question. English is the language of the world today, there is no denying it. However, it achieved this status as an ‘accident of history’ rather than by actually being the best language for international communication and commerce.

So is English suited to being the International Language? In short, my answer is NO, for the following reasons:

1 The grammar is terribly difficult, and not always standardised, although easier than some other European languages.

2 The pronunciation is difficult for speakers of other languages, especially the ‘th’ sounds (you did realise there are two, didn’t you?) – not many other languages have these sounds.

3 The spelling is not standardised. Why does ‘head’ rhyme with ‘said’?

4 The vocabulary is huge and we often have many words for one thing. Phrasal verbs can often cause problems for learners and there are thousands of them!

On the positive side, English adapts easily to scientific and technical language.
I have personally had some experience of learning Spanish, Turkish and Malay. I can tell you, all three of these languages are much easier than English. If only Spanish was the International Language, how much easier it would be for everyone (except English speakers, who are notoriously lazy when it comes to learning new languages!)

New Quiz: YOUR and YOU'RE

There is another new quiz on Road to Grammar on the topic YOUR and YOU'RE - many learners - and even native speakers - mix up these two ...