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2022-07-18 16:09:33

How the English language is changing – and the people who study it

How the English language is changing – and the people who study it

English is recognized as an international language, the language of globalization. Many of the innovations coming into the world get their English names because the discoveries are made either in English-speaking countries or are focused on a market where consumers use this international language. English is related to world economic indicators in the form of GDP per capita, national income, purchasing power parity.

In 2017-2021, a study was conducted, according to which scientists were able to establish what impact the English language has on the development of mankind, how the level of its proficiency is changing around the world, which generation is better at the international language. The study involved more than 2 million people from 113 countries. As part of the study, they took a language proficiency test, the results of which divided people's abilities into 6 levels. Representatives of many age and social groups took part in the testing, but the main respondents were students interested in learning English. Based on the results obtained, scientists were able to draw conclusions that relate to the economic, cultural, and even political sectors.

The freer the country, the better they know English in it

The results of the test showed that there is a direct relationship between the level of social and political freedoms in the country and the communication of its citizens with the outside world using English. Since the international language is the main means of mutual exchange of information between countries, it gives people from all over the world the opportunity to expand their horizons, travel without a language barrier, communicate with people from different countries, get acquainted with their history and culture first-hand.

In countries where there is no political repression, anti-people laws and international isolation, people who passed the test showed better results than citizens of authoritarian states. Scientists associate the trend with the desire of free citizens to keep abreast of the events of the world, to study the general political picture, the degree of development and freedoms in neighbors, to ask questions about democracy, rights and equality of the people with power. When society is free and gives the opportunity to get acquainted with the rest of the world, people are more willing to learn an international language and keep in touch with residents of other countries.

Thanks to the development of technology, learning English has become more accessible

The potential of technological progress has not yet been fully revealed, but already now people can do what they could not even dream of 50 years ago. Thanks to the development of computer technology, it became possible to receive education remotely, without leaving home. The best universities in the world create their own online programs that allow students to get both new professions and master languages, including English. High competition in the field of distance courses and education forces creators to make the price even more affordable, which is beneficial for those who want to overcome the language barrier.

With the annual development of the Internet, computer technology and online education, there are more of those who managed to master English using the Internet. Those who passed the test for a high score were mainly engaged either independently, obtaining information from free sources, or in Online English schools, where they were eduacted under the guidance of experienced teachers who had previously worked full-time.

English-speaking corporations are more successful

If a large corporation has employees, among whom there are representatives of different nationalities, speakers of different languages, but they know English and interact with it, financial indicators are usually higher than the standard. Employees who do not have to face a language barrier, it is easier to explain themselves to each other and find effective solutions.

According to the study, financial performance in firms where employees speak fluent English is about 25% higher than in organizations where employees communicate in different languages.

Zoomers have a worse command of English than millennials

Testing, which was conducted in 2018, showed that young men and women aged 21 to 25 years speak English worse than citizens of countries aged 26 to 30 years. The best with the test coped with the guys from 18 to 20 years.

After 2 years, testing was carried out again, but the collected statistics acquired a different character. Now young people under 20 years old coped with the test worse than people whose age starts from 41 years, although before that this age category was in the lowest position. A year later, people of this age for the first time coped with the test so well that they fell into the group of moderate English proficiency.

Scientists suggest that the generation of people who learned English at an early age continued to improve it and shows satisfactory results. What can not be said about young people under 20 years old - judging by the results of the test, their interest in learning the language has noticeably decreased.

Subordinates know English better than their supervisors

Over the past 5 years, there has been a tendency for subordinates to know English at a higher level than that of their management and superiors. Among employees, the best results of testing knowledge were found in employees specializing in banking, in the field of IT-technologies and other professions, where a good knowledge of the language is associated with the performance of direct duties.

Over the past 10 years, the number of vacancies where knowledge of an international language is required has increased by about 20%. Those professions where English was not previously required, in 2021 began to require the candidate to know the language. Due to the status of english in the international arena, a job seeker can expand the geography of finding a suitable place, work remotely in another country, cooperate with foreign customers and fulfill orders for them.

Men began to speak English no worse than women

5 years ago, the test showed that girls cope with the proposed tasks better than men. The trend was relevant for most of the 113 countries. However, in 2020, a second test of knowledge showed that men tightened their language skills and stopped lagging behind the fair sex. And in Asia, Europe and Latin America, men coped with testing a little better! The level of knowledge of the international language among women remains at a consistently high level, and among men the indicators are growing from year to year. Only in Africa, men continue to lag far behind women - by 11%.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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