THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGLISH
British or American, the language is basically the same, and its global stature isbacked up by
massive English-language training programmes, an international business that in textbooks, language courses,
tape cassettes, video programmes and computerized instruction — is worthhundreds of millions of pounds or
dollars to the economies of the US and the UK. The English language is now one of Britain’s most reliable
exports. In the ironic words of the novelist Malcolm Bradbury, itis an ideal British product, ‘needing no
workers and no work, no assembly lines and no assembly, no spare parts and very little servicing, it is used
for the most intimate and the most publicservices everywhere. We call it the English language ...‘ Dr Robert
Burchfield, former Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, has remarked that ‘any literate, educated
person on the face of theglobe is deprived if he does not know English’.
The first level of the global sway of English is to be found in those countries, formerly British
colonies, in which English as a second language hasbecome accepted as a fact of cultural life that cannot be
wished away. In Nigeria, it is an official language; in Zambia, it is recognized as one of the state languages;
in Singapore, it is the majorlanguage of government, the legal system and education.
1. Answer the following questions using your own words. (2 points)
a. Is the teaching of the English language worth a lot ofmoney?
b. According to Bradbury, what is the difference between the English language and
2. Are the following statements true or false? (1 point)
a. Dr. R. Burchfield is not theChief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary currently. _
b. Malcom Bradbury is a novelist that works at an assembly line. _
3. Find a word or phrase in the text which, in context, is similar in...