ENGLISH, A LIVING LANGUAGE IN A LIVING WORLD.
Now the world is rapidly changing. In the new millennium, information technology, IT, or digital revolution is gaining momentum and growing stronger with everyday. And IT tools, such as computer, Internet, electronic mail or e-mail are very much in use in every part of the world. As regards the Internet, Mr. Kofi Annan, former U.N Secretary — General has said “the Internet is the fastest growing instrument of communication in the history of civilization and it may be the most rapidly disseminating tool of any kind ever.”
To the credit of the Internet, the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. What happens in one part of the world is known to the other part within seconds or minutes. What a wonderful IT tool! Well, let’s say it again, the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller, so much so that we do fondly call our world “a global village.” And in this global village of ours, we make more and more contacts and communications with each other, states with states, peoples with peoples.
You may like it or not, the digital revolution is real and irreversible. With it, the world is changing, living. And in this living world, the English language has also become increasingly popular. Why? Simply because it has become a must — have tool. On the Internet, the 80 percent of the web-pages are in English. So, to keep ourselves abreast with the changing world, we must have global literacy.
I hope you may wish to ask me; what do you mean by global literacy? Well, let me explain it this way, “global literacy means the ability to access and converse with the rest of the world with IT tools, such as, computer, the Internet and the mastery of English language as the international lingua franca.” With regard to the growing popularity of English, I would like to mention a news report as follows: “English is already the second language in about 75 countries, the first language in more than 30 territories, and has far more speakers outside of Britain than in it.
So, I would like to advise you sincerely and yet strongly: please learn English if you wish to expand your horizons, if you wish to gain competitive edge over others, if you wish to achieve global literacy. In support of my advice, I would like to present to you the following excerpts I have collected from various news reports.
(A) There is no denying the fact that English today has become a living language with more and more words and their applications added to it. For example, e-education, e-commerce, cyberspace, cybercrime, cyberattack, netizens, eurexit etc.
(B) Now we’ll have to recognize that there is an urgent need especially for the younger generation to learn English in earnest and then achieve proficiency in English in view of IT onslaught.
(C) Today, we need to communicate with people of different cultures because IT projects are becoming international and collaborative. That means we must have the ability to speak English. Please bear in mind that “the best way to learn a language is to speak it.”
(D) English is and will remain our common working language. It’s the language of global business, commerce and technology. But the mother tongue gives a crucial part of our values, roots and identities.
Therefore, may I advise you, sir, to go on learning constantly so as to achieve global literacy, and then to think global, but to act local, by protecting, preserving and propagating our values, roots and identities.
Man may come and man may go. But I think, we should go on learning English and anything of importance, anything worth it, forever so as to join and catch up with the changing, living world. Am I going too far? Well, if so, excuse me sir, Thank you.
(1) The Global Light of Myanmar.
(2) The strait times (Singapore)
U KHIN MAUNG
(A retired diplomat)