A language with rather humble roots, one that has been twisted and bent, that has taken and borrowed from other languages, and that has been the subject of much debate as to the correctness of certain usages, today English is the language that the world uses to communicate. Beginning with British colonial power and moving to the American influence of technology and liberty, the world uses English today for a variety of reasons from commerce and trade, to political communication, to technology and science, and beyond. The entire world uses English to get business done and it truly has become the lingua franca for the world. So what is to become of English in the modern world? While it is undeniable that English has become a world power in terms of communication, we must understand the history of how it became that way if we are to ever truly understand why it has become a global language and how it will continue to be in the years to come. Will it remain the language used to free the oppressed and the language to spread economic, political and scientific advances throughout the world? Will its distinctive varieties, in all corners of the world, aid in its expansion or will these variations cause it to loose its identity? English has had a history of breaking with the norm and shaping itself to suit the needs of its speakers from its earliest roots. It is for this reason that it will not only remain the language that the world uses for the improvement of life, but it will also begin to touch more lives and societies every decade as the world continues to become a much smaller place.
To understand how English became the lingua franca for the world one must begin by understanding the colonial influence of the British Empire, beginning with the Americas in the early 1600’s. The beginning of English in Great Britain truly began as a force of influence when King Alfred the Great had the first Bible translated into English in the ninth century. However it would take almost six hundred years for English to become the language of the people, it all started with the idea that brining language to the people through religion would set the standard for all. The Golden Age of Great Britain began under Queen Elizabeth I and with it, the idea that Britain needed to expand its empire and set out and “discover” the world. The British Empire set out to the Americas in two vastly different manners, yet both had major influences on the language of what soon would become America.
The British Empire was somewhat late to the game in the world of colonization. The Spanish had already colonized much of South America and the Caribbean and the Dutch were right on their heels. The English had done very well in the previous two centuries and were facing a time of economic stalemate. They had become an overcrowded population and soon, if they were not careful, there wouldn't be enough work and resources to go around for everyone. So, like any good...