Speaking English at a workable level is very important, while speaking it at native or near-native level makes a true difference!
In our globalized world, English has become a “bridge language” or “lingua franca” that has connected the people of the world through trade, culture, and diplomacy. Although Mandarin Chinese and Spanish are two of the most spoken languages in the world in terms of the number of native speakers – 960 and 570 million respectively, compared to an estimated 360 million native speakers of English, a total of 1,6 billion speak English as a first, second (ESL) or third language.
So, one could say that if you want the world to listen—you need to say it in English.
What is the future of English?
“Native speakers may feel the language ‘belongs’ to them, but it will be those who speak English as a second or foreign language who will determine its world future”, predicts David Graddol, a British linguist, who has worked in applied linguistics, sociolinguistics and history of linguistics, in his research “The Future of English”.
But with one in four learners already speaking it at a “useful” level, is learning English still as good of a time-and-money investment? What if other languages provide a better chance to distinguish oneself in the competitive business field?
It all comes down to mastery. Although speaking English at a workable level is very important, speaking it at native or near-native level—perfecting pronunciation, idioms, and even a local slang—makes a true difference that can distinguish you as a professional in the ever-changing world of today.
Learn English for business and education
Furthermore, near-native level of English could give you access to a better education, whether it be at world-famous universities such as Oxford or MIT, or through one of many free online courses that can teach you anything from computer science to the science of the Solar System.
English has been referred to as “the language of business”, and if you have ambitions to grow your business and become an international businessperson, it is essential that you not only speak English fluently but to read it and write it as well. We highly recommend you take a look at our course “Writing professional and private emails and leaving voice messages” at www.languagesandmore.com/go
Learn English for pleasure and entertainment
Also, you’ll be able to enjoy works by some of the world’s most famous writers in their language. “The original is unfaithful to the translation”, said a world-renowned Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges and although there are some amazing translators out there, translation rarely does a writer true justice. If you master the English language, you can look forward to enjoying anything from the classical works of William Shakespeare, Jane Austin, and George Orwell, to modern-day classics such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones”. If you like reading in English and meeting interesting people from all over the world, our online BookWaves Club—where a book club meets an advanced conversational course—might be the right choice for you. Learn more about the course here.
And there’s more: When you’re fluent in English, you get more from popular culture. We all know that the most popular movies, called blockbusters, are made in Hollywood and needless to say, they are made in English. If you speak English proficiently, you won’t have to rely on fast-paced subtitles or often annoying movie synchronization. We’d all like to listen to an original George Clooney speak, right? Plus, say goodbye to humming your favorite pop-rock songs—now you’ll be able to sing along because you’ll understand the words!
And don’t forget that you’ll be able to attend international conferences and enjoy networking with delegates from different countries! You never know when or where you can meet your new client or business partner! If you add the fact that English is also the language of the Internet, being the number one language in terms of connected users (according to InternetWorldStats) and the top language for content (according to W3Techs), one could definitely say that this language is an absolute must for each competent Internet user.
“A man who knows two languages is worth two men”
Learning English is a challenge and it takes dedication and perseverance to reach a good level of fluency. But, as it goes with each challenge in life, the fruits we reap are well worth the effort. English will help you experience new cultures, meet new friends, improve your business, develop life skills and, most importantly, grow your confidence. As an old French proverb goes: “A man who knows two languages is worth two men”.
Languages and More is a language school and language advisory center based in Geneva, Switzerland. We offer a wide variety of online courses, such as English for Young Learners, Email Writing, and BookWaves Club—conversational course for advanced learners of English.
You can reach us below and learn more about our courses at www.languagesandmore.com and www.ohyes.ch/go. Follow us on Facebook, at Languages and More in Geneva, on Twitter @languagesgva and on Instagram @languagesandmore.