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Posted on April 25th, 2014, by

It is found that today many linguists, researchers, and other experts debate over the norms and standards of English. These debates that refer to Standard English, grammar rules and correctness are very intense in today’s environment, and they can extend far beyond the academic context. According to Tony Bex and Richard J. Watts (1999), current debates are focused on the methods of teaching English in the school and university curriculum, and they include some more general concerns regarding the declining standards of English that can be discussed in the international, historical and social context (11). It is clear that the traditional concept of Standard English or Standard British English has always been essential in the teaching of English as a foreign language in Europe (Bex & Watts, 1999:239).

According to the research conducted by Strevens, Standard English can be defined as a particular dialect of English, being the only non-localized dialect, of global currency without significant variation, universally accepted as the appropriate educational target in teaching English which may be spoken with an unrestricted choice of accent (McKay, 2002:51). The debate over norms and standards of English was one of the major topics at the conference of the British Council in 1984. At this conference, two outstanding linguists Randolf Quirk and Braj Kachru expressed their opinions concerning the standards of English. For Quirk, a common standard of use is warranted in all the contexts of English language use (McKay, 2002:50). It means that Standard English (American English or British English) should be promoted all over the world. For Kachru, the spread of English requires re-examination of traditional of standardization of English. It means that new Standard English has been arisen in absolutely new sociolinguistic and sociocultural contexts and that sociolinguistic reality of modern English must be recognized. Today it is clear that the global spread of English has led to a number of varieties of English in both sociocultural and sociolinguistic contexts. That is why it is necessary to recognize the norms that are based on the manner in which English is used within particular speech communities. He is sure that allowing for a variety of norms will not influence intelligibility among varieties of English (McKay, 2002:51).  Kachru (1985) states: What we need now are new paradigms and perspectives for linguistic and pedagogical research and for understanding the linguistic creativity in multilingual situations across cultures (30).

The debates over standards and proficiency of English are not restricted to the above mentioned opposing camps, but they include some other models of English, in which English is represented as a lingua franca, or international language, or international auxiliary language, or general English.

LANGUAGE USE ON THE INTERNET AND IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/ACADEMIC COMMUNICATION

It is known that language plays a significant role in international business/academic communication and on the Internet. There are several roles of language in international business. First of all, language is important for information gathering and assessment. Fluency in language gives an opportunity to the employees to diminish their dependence on the opinions and perceptions of others. Secondly, language provides access to local society (Czinkota et al., 2008: 27). English is widely spoken and can be the official company language. Thirdly, language can help to reduce the risk of errors in business. The ability to speak language without the use of an interpreter guarantees accuracy of business communication. And, fourthly, language extends beyond the mechanics of communication into the accurate interpretation of cultural contexts that may influence business operations (Czinkota et al., 2008: 27).

As the use of English has become wider in this borderless digital age, many scholars are concerned about the dominant role of world English and the Internet as a new arena for its spread (Herring, 2007: 3). The results of the recent survey prove the fact that more than 56% of webpages and more than 94% links to pages on secure servers are in English. Some experts consider that the spread of English is a natural process which denotes extension of globalization. Others are concerned about the status of smaller languages (Herring, 2007: 4).

Besides, English plays a leading role in academic communication. Claus Gnutzmann (2008) states that the supremacy of English has already manifested itself in such fields of academic communication as research work and teaching process in all disciplines(12).  It means that the spread of English leads to the risk of Anglo-American dominance in cultural and scientific fields.

SOME POSSIBLE SCENARIOS FOR THE FUTURE OF ENGLISH AS A WORLD LINGUA FRANCA

There are several scenarios for the future of English as a world lingua franca. The first one is that English will remain a global language as long as the USA has global power. It will be spoken in all countries of the world, and, may be, it will become an official language for many countries (The Future of English, 2011). According to Marc Hempel (2010), lingua franca use between non-native speakers is steadily increasing and will gain more importance in the future (8). The second scenario is that English will remain on the present day level. The situation will not change because English will compete with such languages as Arabic, Mandarin Chinese and Hindu (The Future of English, 2011).

            CONCLUSION

In conclusion, it is necessary to say that English is a language of international communication. However, today English plays different roles in different countries, and it is not spread the same everywhere in the world. In most cases, the spread of English depends on the political decisions and language policies that benefit some groups in the society at the expense of other groups. Today English is effectively used in international business, academic communication and on the Internet. There are several scenarios for the future of English: either it will become official language for the majority of countries, or it will remain on the current level and compete with Arabic, Chinese and Hindu for the dominant position.

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