Language is our primary source of communication. It is the method through which we share our thoughts with other human beings. We can state that language is what makes us human and separates us from animals. Learning languages is a very important part of our lives because by learning a foreign language we can have greater opportunities in everyday life.
The spread of the English language began when the British Empire started colonizing other countries. Due to colonization, which started in the late 16th century, economics, travel and popular culture, English has become a lingua franca, a language used between people who do not share the same first language and currently, 20 percent of the world’s population speak English either as a mother tongue or as a foreign language. According to an article1 published in Babbel Magazine 1.5 billion speak English and about 360 million people speak English as their first language.
English became established as the language of education and government and in many cases serves as a common language among populations with different native tongues. Since then, English has become the lingua franca in many fields, including science, technology, business, politics and entertainment. It is also the working language of many international organizations such as NATO and the European Union and the most used language of the Internet. The United States of America has also had a strong influence on the globalization of English being an enormous source of pop culture, movies and entertainment on TV and on the Internet.
Nowadays, English has become the most common foreign language. Speaking it will help us communicate with people from countries all over the world, not just English- speaking ones, and will open countless opportunities in being able to learn, work and travel in a foreign country. We can state that no matter where we travel in the world there will always be people who speak English.
Thus, learning English can increase one’s chances of finding a good job. Moreover, since English is used in science and technology too, English speakers have more opportunities to work with others in these fields and share ideas. Students can access information easily since many materials are published in English. Knowing this language also helps us socialize with people from all over the world. Being able to speak English makes it easier to travel, too. These days, English is dominating the context of foreign language learning and teaching in Romania and in many other countries.
We are living in a multicultural and multilingual world so it is not surprising that learning foreign languages has become so important in our era. While centuries ago Latin was the dominant language used in every aspect of life, English has taken its’ place due to political and economic changes in the world. Richards and Rodgers (1986, p. 1) says that “both from a contemporary and a historical perspective, bilingualism or multilingualism is the norm rather than the exception”. This means that learning languages, especially a language that is so widely spoken all over the world as English is very important to succeed in everyday life.
Richards, J.C. Rodgers, T.S (1986). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press