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Today it rules the world, but tomorrow it faces inevitable extinction. How far do you agree with this view of English?

English, today, is the language that rules the world. It is used more widely than any other language, and is, hence, the recognised international language of business, technology, politics and popular culture. Over six million people are able to speak English, three million using it as their native, first language; this huge number could be due to the vast amount of countries and continents that speak the language all around the world. Britain claimed this supremacy back in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the British Empire was on the rise, establishing colonies all around the world. In the 20th century, the United States as a world power has continued the spread of English, although Britain's economic and political strength had declined.

At seven hundred million people able to speak the language, Mandarin Chinese actually has a much greater number of speakers than English, yet the majority of Chinese is spoken solely in China itself. This contrasts to the widespread English Language as it is spoken all over the world and in many different countries. However, some linguists, such as Robert Burchfield, believe that these countries will disintegrate away from one another, as each country has its own variety of English. Important differences, such as in relation to phonology and lexis exist between British English, American English and Indian English, perhaps due to influences from pre-existing languages or the local needs, conditions or the want of a independent national identity in these countries. Support for this theory is sometimes made with Latin, now a 'dead' language, but once the dominant language of Western Europe. This therefore supports the statement that English faces inevitable extinction.

On the other hand, there is also a contrasting vision of the uniformity of language. A world standard of English is developing, and British English and American English seem to be growing closer together, their differences decreasing. A major reason for this is the media and communication between these two countries. Contact can occur on a personal level, or through means such as the television, popular culture, films or the Internet. The number of languages in the world are decreasing, and the global spread of English can actually be seen as destructive, as the languages of many races and cultures have disappeared. Within England itself, accents appear resistant to change, yet the growing rise of Estuary English suggests that there is an additional phonological uniformity.

Finally, linguists such as David Crystal believe neither disintegration or uniformity will become of English, but there will be a compromise between the two; Bidialectalism. This view states people will be able to use two dialects of the same language, and will adapt their language to different scenarios. I agree with Bidialectalism, as I don't think English will become completely extinct, but there will not be complete uniformity. I already see evidence of Bidialectalism in my society, as people will…


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