In connection with the topic “spread of English language” it seems most interesting to see how the language took over a whole new continent. Therefore, it is necessary to remark that America was not uninhabited when the British settlers arrived. As it is well known, many indigenous peoples lived there and had, of course, their own languages. Many of them did not give up their languages voluntarily. As Nettle and Romaine describe, the contact between settlers and native peoples was full of conflicts: while in the beginning of the settlement the colonists saw the natives as trade partners this relationship switched during the following years (cf. Nettle & Romaine 2002:118). The tribes were made slaves and had to work for the settlers under the permanent pressure of giving up their ways of lives and adopt new crops, money and language (cf. Nettle & Romaine 2002:118). At the same time they learned new (English) words (cf. Cassidy 1982:179). Nevertheless, not all of the people who came to America were English. It was a mixture of Spanish, German, Dutch or Irish groups who all brought their languages with them. Still, the English language could get its way because many speakers adopted it through assimilation (cf. Crystal 1997:31). Possible reasons for this development could have been that most of the colonists were English-speaking and this made other groups adopt the language in order to be able to communicate with the majority. In contrast to that it could have been the case that powerful people in these communities were English-speaking and therefore installed their language to be the official one (cf. Cassidy 1982:179). Though English was the language which spread mostly, the other speech communities left their influences on it as well: The slaves imported from Africa, for example, learned English, but due to their separation from the common society they were never able to learn it properly. Consequently, the so called “Black English” developed which is still present today (cf. Cassidy 1982:182). Summarized this means:
English is the second most spoken language in the world (see appendix). In fact, Mandarin is spoken by more people than English, but it has not such a world authority, such a geographical dissemination and such important literature and scientific writings as English. English is spoken as a mother-tongue by about 400 million people (for example in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the British Isles) and as a second language with official status by around 300 million people in countries as India and Nigeria. Furthermore, about 300 million people claim some proficiency in English as an additional language. Since English is spread all around the globe, there exist not only the Standard English, but also many distinct varieties of English.
It’s not just students who are failing in schools, schools are also failing their students. Across seven African countries, an average of one in five teachers was absent from school on the day of an unannounced visit by survey teams, and two in five were absent from their classrooms even though they were at school. In remote communities, these problems are even more severe. This kind of analysis is not intended to blame teachers, but to call attention to systematic issues of resourcing, management and governance which often undermine the quality of teaching. Read More .