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English - The International Language Powering World Trade

English is the most widely studied second language in the world and its role as a communicative currency means that ensuring consistent standards of English across the world is central to its value.

Being multilingual is an increasingly important business skill as world markets become more globalized and interconnected than ever before. As new economies develop rapidly, the value of being able to speak Mandarin, Arabic and Hindi is increasing. However, English remains the leading international language, with an estimated 1.5 billion speakers across the world. The dominance of English is colossal; the most widely used language the world has ever seen. It is the language of modern scholarship, the internet and technology, the global media and advertising, international politics and diplomacy, and particularly, global business.

The prolific growth of English is both a result and cause of globalization. The boom in international trade has brought people from all cultures and countries together to exchange goods and services. Yet, the role that English has played in driving global trade and reducing the sense of distance between countries is often overlooked. With more people on the move today than at any other point in human history, English has increasingly become the ‘lingua franca’ for international trade. This is powerfully underlined by the calculation that an estimated 80 per cent of those communicating in English are non-native speakers.

English is the most widely studied second language in the world and its role as a communicative currency means that ensuring consistent standards of English across the world is central to its value. Ensuring the integrity and standard of the English language worldwide is important to provide a communications platform for the global economy and maximizing the value of migration, but this must also be teamed with the recognition that English is now a world language. The diverse mix of people from a host of cultures and countries has led to the emergence of many variations, including what is termed ‘international English’. Ultimately, the English language has a leading role to play in our globalized world: providing a common platform for international trade; driving global collaboration and thinking; breaking down the barriers between cultures and opening doors to opportunities around the world.

By Sujata Stead first published on www.internationaltrade.co.uk