Due to globalization, societies are becoming multilingual. Therefore, the knowledge of languages is relevant in the facilitation of communication and participation in the economic, cultural, and social activities. The above roles of language beg the question: which languages are the most useful in the globalized world? According to the Power Language Index ranking, English is the most powerful language followed closely by Mandarin, French, Spanish, and Arabic (Chan). Most people outside America believe that English is necessary for success due to its prominent role in society, technology, innovation, economy, and the workplace.
English plays an important role in the economy. Trade drives most of the world’s economies. This knowledge is backed by 2015 statistics that indicated that trade attributed to 56% of world GDP (EF EPI 12). English is the common language used for these global transactions. EF EPI’s studies have severally linked English proficiency to the ease of doing business (12). Most businesses operate globally as part of a global supply chain, as competitors with similar products, or as clients of finished products. Approximately 60% of all multinational companies operate in English (EF EPI 12). Consequently, the multinational companies that are not proficient in English may fail to catch-up with the others. There is also a strong connection between English and economic development. For instance, developing countries not only require technological infrastructure to transition to a knowledge-based economic model but also the English language. This is because most workplaces use English.
Innovation and technology are other areas that thrive on English proficiency worldwide. The most influential platforms for knowledge dissemination today like TED Talks use English language. As a result, professionals who speak English including CEOs, accountants, engineers and scientists, leverage more of the world’s shared knowledge. Researchers widely use English to share and access works of their colleagues internationally too. EF EPI states that all 100 most influential scientific journals publish their articles in English (EF EPI 14). Additionally, there is a higher probability of scientists’ work to be cited internationally if it is written in English. Increased sharing of knowledge generates innovation. Statistically, 10 million most visited websites, according to EF EPI, are written in English (20). Since the internet is a powerful tool of knowledge, individuals who understand English are better positioned to acquire knowledge. Furthermore, the most influential technological companies are American, which raises the need for English proficiency in order to borrow the knowledge.
English has also infiltrated the workplace and societies of non-native speakers. English skills are necessary for jobs like technical support, certain seniority positions, supply chains, and documentation. In a 2016 survey, EF EPI revealed that 70% of organizations in non-native English speaking nations believed that English was essential for their business (16). For non-native English speaking societies, EF EPI found out that individuals are more progressive in their views of gender roles and more internationally mobile (18). On the other side, individuals from societies that speak less English are more insular, more traditional, and tend to promote power and income inequality. Due to globalization, societies need to be more accepting and open to issues like equality. Because of the status of English in the society, most people believe that English plays a significant role in one’s success.
Most non-native English speakers strongly believe that English language is pivotal in their success. English, as ranked by the Power Language Index, is the most powerful language in the world. This is because of the language’s role in innovation, technology, economy, workplace, and society. The English language provides numerous opportunities to succeed in the interconnected world.
Chan, Kai. “These are the Most Powerful Languages in the World”. World Economic Forum. 2 Dec. 2016. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/these-are-the-most-powerful-languages-in-the-world/. 19 Nov. 2018
EF EPI. “EF English Proficiency Index”. EF EPI. 2018. https://www.ef.com/__/~/media/centralefcom/epi/downloads/full-reports/v8/ef-epi-2018-english.pdf. 19 Nov. 2018