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English As A Global Language Essay

2160 words - 9 pages

Crystal (1997) indicates English is an international language. There is about a quarter of world’s population is already fluent or competent in English. However, as English spreads, the culture and values, which are embedded in English, may also become widely spread all over the world. Pennycook (1994) suggests that English, like all languages, contains cultures and values, so is never neutral. The cultural politics of English, has been transferred through cultural propaganda, development aid and global business, as well as, either consciously or unconsciously, through English language teaching practices. Moreover, Phillipson (1992) suggests that through linguistic imperialism, English ...view middle of the document...

This economic value of English has accelerated the spread of English and has enhanced the importance of English in South Korea.

Moreover, English has also been recognized as a significant resource to maintain the citizens’ security and the country’s stability in South Korea. During the Korean War, the U.S. army was invited by South Korean government to help them fight against the enemies. After the war, millions of U.S. soldiers have been sent to South Korea. Until now, the U.S. has established fifteen military bases in South Korea. Hence, English has been widely used to communicate with the U.S. government and the army meanwhile the importance of English has been further improved. South Korean government and most citizens believe English is necessary to help maintain the relationship with the U.S., in order to help them safeguard the national security and response to the potential threats of North Korea and China. Thus, because of this political value, English has not only become a communication tool, but also is associated with prestige in South Korea (Collins, 2005, as cited in Flattery, 2007). Therefore, during the spread of English in South Korea, English has been involved with many economic value and political value, which far outweigh the language itself.

Because of these economic value and political value, English has been given social priority in South Korea. In the education system, English is a compulsory subject for Korean students from 3rd grade of primary school. After 9 years of English studying in the school, the students are required to attend College Scholastic Ability Test in order to admit into university. English is one of the compulsory subjects in this university entrance exam (Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, 2012). Hence, English is necessary for South Korean students to admit into university and access to higher education. Kim (2002, as cited in Flattery, 2007) indicates that most South Korean students believe that English is significant for finishing their educations and achieving success afterwards. Therefore, English has obtained more important status than other foreign languages in South Korea.

Similarly, most South Korean companies also hold a supportive attitude toward English. They require candidates provide English proficiency certificates and have a fluent oral English ability. TOEIC is one of the most popular English tests in South Korea. Inagaki (2012) indicates that reach 800 points out of 990 points on TOEIC is necessary to find a job in South Korea. Even small and midsize companies are unlikely to hire someone who scores in the 700 ranges. Meanwhile, oral English ability has the equal importance as the English proficiency test. In South Korea, most job interviews are conducted in both Korean and English. The pronunciation and communication skill of English are also part of selection criteria in recruitment. Thus, English has become a prerequisite to find a job in South Korea. In addition,...

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