Contrary to popular belief, English is not the most prevalent language in the world. That honour belongs to the Chinese language, specifically, Mandarin Chinese. It is followed by Spanish, and then finally, English, which comes in third. However, as “low” as that ranking may be, there is no denying that the only language that’s spoken in nearly every corner of the globe is English. This makes having English lessons for kids in Singapore essential to their development.
In fact, nearly 2 billion people around the world can understand and speak basic English. This makes English unique in the sense that its speakers aren’t just concentrated in a particular part of the globe, but rather, the entirety of it.
Having said that, it’s only fair to wonder, how exactly did this happen? How did English become the most prevalent language throughout the world?
The British Influence
English first its got its humble beginnings in Europe and was named after a Germanic tribe known as the Angles. As the language developed throughout the years, more and more people spoke it, and this included the vast majority of the British Empire. From the sailors, soldiers, traders, missionaries, pilgrims, and the common folk, everyone who lived under the rule of the British Empire often spoke English.
Now, because of how big and how invasive the British Empire was, its government and people began spreading the language. By the time countries had begun to realise the importance of introducing a language policy, English was already well on its way to being spoken in every part of the world.
Until today, English remains a major factor in many former colonies of the British Empire. This is largely because of how English evolved from a language of the common folk to the language of the elite – to be able to read, write and speak in English was akin to have access to higher education. This then meant that those who were in power preferred English above other languages, which helped preserved it and turn it into what it is today.
Even though many of the former colonies have since gained their independence and have since gone officially multilingual, English remains one of their dominant or official languages.
The rise of the United States of America in the 20th century following both World Wars only served to help establish the American English as the most common language in the world.
Will English Stay on Top?
If we are to believe that history eventually repeats itself, then another language is bound to usurp English, just as it did French and Latin, as well as other languages before it. However, that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.
You see, English is the most common language in the world. To get ahead in life and to have access to potentially unlimited resources of knowledge, you need to learn how to speak English. Students are often recommended to enrol in an English language schools in Singapore because, without English, career prospects will be slim and hard to come by.
While history may eventually repeat itself, it is highly likely that we’ll see another language take over English for at least a few generations.