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Learning English as a Foreign Language for Dummies

Learning English as a Foreign Language for Dummies

Over the past few decades, English has become the global language.
Approximately 470 million people around the world currently speak English, and that number is growing. More people speak English as a second or foreign language than monolingual English ‘native speakers’. Many countries include the compulsory study of English as a foreign language from primary school, and many parents are aware that some knowledge of English will help their children get better jobs in the future. Countries are keen to improve their citizens’ English skills so as to ensure entry into the global market. In short, these days English is a language of worldwide importance.

When you talk about English-speaking countries, you may think of countries such as Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. But in
many other countries English is an official language and the citizens have high levels of English skills – think of India, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kenya and Mauritius, to name a few.
One of the interesting things about English as a global language is that it is increasingly being used as a ‘lingua franca’ (or common language) so that people from non-English-speaking countries can communicate with those who do speak English. For example, at a business meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, with participants from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia, the common language is usually English. Likewise, a business meeting in Munich, Germany, with participants from Sweden, Greece, Italy, Germany and France, usually takes place in English.