events in international english

I have made a twitter account, gone to a radio show recording, experienced visitors from England, Skyped with classes in Lesotho, New York and Alaska, made a presentation about drug imagery in Alice in Wonderland as well as A Song of Ice and Fire and written a grand total of 21 blogposts (well, 22 when I publish this). Those aren’t the only events of this year in International English, but they did stand out the most.

When you have your first class, you might be nervous or excited. Maybe you’ll be biting your nails, maybe your heart will be pounding, maybe you’ll look around to see if there’s anyone cute in the classroom that you can stare at for the rest of the year amidst blog writing and movie watching. You might not know what to expect. Will it be fun? Will it be dull? Will it make me want to jump out the window? Things like that. I will say the answer is D: all of the above. My teacher is going to be reading this (hi, Ann), so let me amend myself. I have enjoyed my time surrounded by these four walls and my fellow students. While writing about “global challenges” loses it’s appeal eventually, it’ll all be worth it in the end. I can safely say that I know a lot more about the history of China and Erin Brokovich because of these classes and that probably wouldn’t happen anywhere else.

This school year was… let’s say, difficult, for me, but there is something that feels quite calming about International English. You always feel safe in this room. Well, I did. Maybe you will too?

I am on my path to becoming a third year in a few months (if everything works out) and I can safely say that I’m happy I’m almost out of this part of my life called “high school”. I still wish for you to enjoy it while you can. In a few years, I might look back on these years and think of them as the best times of my life. I hope not. God, I really hope not. That would be extremly depressing…

Either way, I wish you good luck with this subject. I think you’ll have fun. I know I did. And if you don’t find it too interesting, well, you can always scroll through Tumblr during class, you probably won’t get caught.

a common language

The language most spoken by number of native speakers is Mandarin (with 955 million), Spanish (405 million) and English is in third place (360 million). English is the second on the list of languages spoken by first and second language speakers (Mandarin is the first again). I would still say it is more widespread.

Both Mandarin and Spanish are languages extensive in clustered spots. Spanish in Spain (of course), Latin America and the US, Chinese in China, Taiwan and Singapore while English is spread in all the Anglo-American areas of the world, spreading from America to Britain to Australia. We can’t forget to include all the countries where it features as a second language (here in Norway we learn it at school from a young age).

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It is also a common language for tourists and is used as a way of exchanging information and making business deals between companies. From the six official UN languages (of which Mandarin and Spanish are also featured), English is the one most broadly used. It’s common for many different countries to also adopt words and expressions from modern English, many of which were adopted themselves from ancient Latin and Greek, into their own language.

The language has also carved a big spot for itself in the modern media. It was reported that 95% of all articles in magazines were written in English (1997). When it comes to literature, 28% of all volumes published in the world were in English as well as 30% of all web content (2011).

Many websites that are famous worldwide are English, though some can be visited in the visitor’s native language as well. Instagram, Tumblr and WordPress, for example, are completely English, however. I am a Tumblr user myself and the people I follow and that follow me are from many different countries in Europe and Latin-America and Asia, but post mainly in English (sometimes only in English). It’s a true testament to how we use the language as a gateway to communication.

 

Sources

This one was also written with Diba.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_total_number_of_speakers

 

a great number of dialects

There are a great number of different English dialects in India, based on regional differences. They’ve been developed after the British colonization of India that started in the early 1600s and lasted all the way until postwar time, in 1947. That’s plenty of time for the English language to evolve and find its own… path, let’s say.

All these dialects have been affected by the Indian spoken in the different regions (Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, etc.) The more known English dialects are Malayali English, Tamilian English and Punjabi English with some more obscure ones being Butler English, Babu English and Bazaar English.

Other than being based on regions, they are (or were) also based on socio-economic positions. Babu English was developed amongst clerks in pre-partition India and has since developed to no longer be confined to clerks. It was characterised by the extremely polite manner of expression. I’m sure you can guess what Butler English originally derived from. It was the English butlers used to communicate with their masters in the Madras Presidency. Hinglish (Hindi English) features English words blending with Punjabi and Hindi.

The different dialects and accents of Indian English vary greatly, some based mostly on the English language while others feature more words from the different native dialects. The long colonial period India had under England definitely left its marks.

 

Sources

I have worked with Diba on this post (make sure to check out her blog!)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_differences_and_dialects_in_Indian_English