[00:10.12]TEST FOR ENGLISH MAJORS--GRADE EIGHT
[00:13.51]Section A MINI-LECTURE
[00:16.97]In this section you will hear a mini-lecture.
[00:20.29]You will hear the mini-lecture ONCE ONLY.
[00:23.73]While listening to the mini-lecture,
[00:25.82]please complete the gap-filling task on ANSWER SHEET ONE
[00:30.29]and write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each gap.
[00:34.70]Make sure the word(s) you fill in is (are) both grammatically
[00:39.23]and semantically acceptable.
[00:41.85]You may use the blank sheet for note-taking.
[00:45.67]You have THIRTY seconds to preview the gap-filling task.
[01:19.89]Now, listen to the mini-lecture.
[01:22.30]When it is over, you will be given THREE minutes
[01:25.05]to check your work.
[01:29.71]Good morning, everyone.
[01:31.52]Today, we are going to discuss the status of global language.
[01:36.21]Particularly, I will address four questions. What is a global language?
[01:42.14]Why is a global language needed? Is a global language necessarily a good thing?
[01:48.30]And is English a global language? First of all, what is a global language?
[01:55.40]There is no official definition of "global" or "world" language,
[02:00.37]but it essentially refers to a language that is learned and spoken internationally,
[02:06.16]and is characterized not only
[02:08.11]by the number of its native and second language speakers,
[02:12.03]but also by its geographical distribution,
[02:15.14]and its use in international organizations and in diplomatic relations.
[02:21.11]A global language acts as a lingua franca, a common language
[02:26.15]that enables people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities to communicate
[02:31.32]on a more or less equitable basis.
[02:35.05]Historically, the essential factor for the establishment of a global language
[02:41.16]is that it is spoken by those who wield power.
[02:45.20]Latin was the lingua franca of its time,
[02:48.31]although it was only ever a minority language within the Roman Empire as a whole.
[02:54.32]Crucially, though, it was the language of the powerful leaders and administrators
[03:00.11]and of the Roman military and this is what drove its rise to
[03:04.65]arguably global language status.
[03:07.98]Thus, language can be said to have no independent existence of its own,
[03:14.26]and a particular language only dominates when its speakers dominate and,
[03:19.86]by extension, fails when the people who speak it fail.
[03:24.90]History shows us that a language becomes a global language
[03:29.26]mainly due to the political power of its native speakers, and the economic power
[03:34.92]with which it is able to maintain and expand its position.
[03:39.77]Secondly, why is a global language needed?
[03:44.07]It is often argued that the modern global village needs a global language
[03:49.05]and that, particularly in a world of modern communications,
[03:53.59]globalized trade and easy international travel,
[03:57.51]a single lingua franca has never been more important.
[04:02.05]With the advent of large international bodies such as the United Nations
[04:07.46]and its various offshoots as well as collective organizations
[04:11.95]such as the Commonwealth and the European Union,
[04:15.62]the pressure to establish a worldwide lingua franca has never been greater.
[04:21.78]As just one example of why a lingua franca is useful,
[04:26.76]consider that up to one-third of the administration costs of the European Community
[04:32.87]are taken up by translations into the various member languages.
[04:38.28]Thirdly, is a global language necessarily a good thing?
[04:43.26]While its advantages are self-evident, there are some legitimate concerns
[04:48.56]that a dominant global language could also have some built-in drawbacks.
[04:54.18]Among these may be the following:
[04:57.10]Number one, there is a risk that the increased adoption of a global language
[05:03.02]may lead to the weakening
[05:04.95]and eventually the disappearance of some minority languages.
[05:10.22]It is estimated that up to 80% of the world's 6,000 or so living languages
[05:16.75]may die out within the next century, and some commentators believe
[05:22.03]that a too-dominant global language may be a major contributing factor in this trend.
[05:29.19]However, it seems likely that this is really only a direct threat in areas
[05:34.99]where the global language is the natural first language.
[05:39.16]Conversely, there is also some evidence
[05:42.52]that the very threat of subjugation by a dominant language
[05:46.56]can actually galvanize and strengthen movements
[05:50.23]to support and protect minority languages e.g. Welsh in Wales, French in Canada.
[05:58.14]Number two, there is concern that natural speakers of the global language
[06:03.86]may be at an unfair advantage over those
[06:06.91]who are operating in their second, or even third, language.
[06:12.15]Number three, the insistence on one language to the exclusion of others
[06:18.13]may also be seen as a threat to the ideas of multiculturalism.
[06:23.54]Number four, another potential pitfall is linguistic complacency
[06:29.23]on the part of natural speakers of a global language, a laziness and arrogance
[06:35.14]resulting from the lack of motivation to learn other languages.
[06:39.50]Arguably, this can already be observed in many Britons and Americans.
[06:45.54]Finally, is English a global language?
[06:49.46]As can be seen in more detail in the section on English today, on almost any basis,
[06:56.55]English is the nearest thing there has ever been to a global language.
[07:01.47]Its worldwide reach is much greater than
[07:04.80]anything achieved historically by Latin or French,
[07:08.55]and there has never been a language as widely spoken as English.
[07:13.47]Many would reasonably claim that, in the fields of business, academics, science,
[07:19.50]computing, education, transportation, politics and entertainment,
[07:25.35]English is already established as the de facto lingua franca.
[07:30.58]The UN, the nearest thing we have, or have ever had, to a global community,
[07:36.86]currently uses five official languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese,
[07:45.20]and an estimated 85% of international organizations
[07:50.01]have English as at least one of their official languages.
[07:54.67]Even more starkly, though, about one third of international organizations
[08:00.15]use English only, and this figure rises to almost 90%
[08:05.31]among Asian international organizations.
[08:09.11]As we have seen, a global language arises
[08:12.53]mainly due to the political and economic power of its native speakers.
[08:18.07]It was British imperial and industrial power
[08:22.25]that sent English around the globe between the 17th and 20th Centuries.
[08:28.79]The legacy of British imperialism has left many countries
[08:33.33]with the language thoroughly institutionalized
[08:36.32]in their courts, parliament, civil service, schools and higher education establishments.
[08:43.78]In other countries, English provides a neutral means of communication
[08:49.13]between different ethnic groups.
[08:51.87]But it has been largely American economic and cultural supremacy
[08:57.10]that has consolidated the position of the English language
[09:01.08]and continues to maintain it today.
[09:04.26]American dominance and influence worldwide
[09:07.74]makes English crucially important for developing international markets,
[09:12.91]especially in the areas of tourism and advertising,
[09:17.01]and mastery of English also provides access to scientific,
[09:21.74]technological and academic resources which would otherwise
[09:26.16]be denied developing countries.
[09:29.08]OK. I have given you a brief account of the definition of global language,
[09:35.24]the necessity and drawbacks of having a global language
[09:40.06]and finally English status in the global communication.
[09:44.73]Next time, we shall examine the role of English plays in the cultural communication.
[09:52.50]Now you have THREE minutes to check your work.
[12:56.40]This is the end of Section A MINI-LECTURE.
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