Activities

L3. Activity 1.3: Global Language

  • What is a global language? Is it the same as a lingua franca?

 

A Global Language is a language that is so spread that is learned by many people as an L1, L2 or L3 world wide. A global language is used by a vast number of speakers, a substantial fraction of which are non-native and are do not speak it by ethnic or territorial links; it has an official or co-official status in many countries and it is used in many international contexts such as trade relations, academic institutions and international companies and organizations.

A lingua franca also known as vehicular language the one that is used to make communication possible between people who do not share a native language, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both native languages. Any language can act as a lingua franca in a particular context but not every language can be considered a Global Language.

 

  • Do you think English can be considered a global language?

 

English today is a Global Language as it is characterized by the definition of global language that we offered before: it is spread enough to be used by a vast number of speakers, a substantial fraction of which are non-native and are do not speak it by ethnic or territorial links; it has an official or co-official status in many countries and it is used in many international contexts such as trade relations, academic institutions and international companies and organizations.

 

  • Name other languages, from present or past times, which  you  think are, or were global languages.

On the one hand, Latin was the world’s first recorded carried across Western Europe by soldiers and traders in the days of the Roman Empire. It was used in all fields both orally and in writing.  Even after the Empire dissolved, Latin persisted as the main language in many Western European cities. By the 18th century, each city had added words and phrases to it, leading to a handful of “vulgar Latins.” Eventually, these vulgar Latins became modern-day Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian.

Besides, French and Spanish were also global languages for many years because of the number of regions were these languages are spoken and the interest that other countries had in learning them as a second language. Nowadays, they are not global languages anymore.

  • In your opinion, what factors make a language become a global language?

From our point of view, the specific properties that a language should have to become a global language are:

  1. A huge number of native speakers
  2. A substantial fraction of non-native speakers
  3. Official status in several countries
  4. A linguistic community not defined strictly along ethnic lines
  5. One or more standard registers which are widely taught as a foreign language
  6. Association with linguistic prestige
  7. Use in international trade relations
  8. Use in international organizations
  9. Use in the academic institutions
  10. Important body of literature
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