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Posted on April 25th, 2014, by

It is not a secret that modern English is often described as the first global lingua franca. English is considered to be not only the dominant language in our society, but also it is an international language of communications and science, information technology and business, aviation and seafaring, mass media and entertainment. According to the historical data, English was spread with the growth of the British Empire, and by the end of the19th century it was spread across the globe. During the British colonization from the 16th to 19th centuries, English became the dominant language in such countries as the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In addition, the spread of English across the globe is connected with the fast growing economic and cultural influence of the United States. (Hall, & Eggington, 2000: 23).  English replaced the leading role of such languages as German and French. German was replaced by English as the key language of science Nobel Prize laureates during the 20th century, and French was replaced by English as the key language of diplomacy during the 19th century and 20th century. In addition, today the knowledge of English is a requirement practically in all spheres of human activity, including medicine, computing, science, education, business management, etc. It means that more and more people speak English on our planet. English is considered to be one of the official languages in the United Nations.

The major goal of this paper is to discuss the fact that English is continuing to spread in the expanding circle, taking into consideration current debates over norms and standards and language use on the internet and in international business/academic communication.


Today English is recognized in a number of countries. According to David Chrystal, the total number of English speakers in the expanding circle is over 500 million and one billion (Nordquist, 2012, para.3). The expanding circle stands for the countries in which English language does not have any special administrative status, but, nevertheless, it is recognized as a lingua franca and is widely studied in the majority of educational institutions as a foreign language. The countries included in the expanding circle are China, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, and many others. According to the well-known linguist Braj B. Kachru, the worldwide distribution of English can be analyzed with the help of a unique model which consists of three circles of English speakers(Perez, 2008: 4). These circles are the inner circle, the outer circle and the expanding circle. They represent the type of language spread, the patterns of acquisition of knowledge and the functional allocation of English language in diversity of cultural contexts.

In most cases, the spread of English in the expanding circle is the result of the learning foreign language within this or that country. According to Kachru, in the outer circle, the range of language proficiency among the citizens of the country is broad, including native English speakers and those people who have only minimal familiarity with English. However, in the expanding circle, the language does not have official status and there is no local model of English in the country. Among the nations included in the expanding circle are Japan, China, Poland and Russia where English is used for international communication, in business and popular culture. It is found that the knowledge of English can be very useful for its speakers, but it does not mean that English is a central basis for deciding who has access to economic resources and political power (Hall & Eggington, 2000:13). In the countries of the expanding circle, English does not play an important role in different domestic institutions. English is taught as one of the foreign languages in schools and universities. Language policy in these countries provides the spread of English as a foreign language (Hall & Eggington, 2000:13).

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