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How did English become the global force it is today? This free course, English in the world today, explores the status of the language and its worldwide diversity. It looks at how social and political factors influence people's attitudes towards it, and at the relationship between one's linguistic heritage and sense of identity.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand the diversity of English through history and around the world
- understand the effect of social and cultural factors on an individual’s use of English
- understand the relationship between a person’s linguistic heritage and their sense of identity
- understand the ways in which different varieties of English in use around the world are categorised.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- The beginnings of English (Part 1)
- The beginnings of English (Part 2)
- The beginnings of English (Part 3)
- What is English? (Part 1)
- What is English? (Part 2)
- What is English? (Part 3)
- What is English? (Part 4)
- English through history (Part 1)
- English through history (Part 2)
- English through history (Part 3)
- English through history (Part 4)
- Timeline of the history of English
- Who speaks English? (Part 1)
- Who speaks English? (Part 2)
- Who speaks English? (Part 3)
- Who speaks English? (Part 4)
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
English in the world today
In the last few decades, English has emerged as the pre-eminent language for international communication. It is spoken by more people around the world than any other language, and is regularly described as a truly ‘global’ language. This course introduces you to the role that English plays in the world today, and examines the social, political and cultural factors that have influenced its development. It traces the history of the language from its arrival in Britain in the fifth century AD through to the present day and its status as a language with a truly global reach. It looks at how and why English came to occupy this position, and at what the consequences of its global spread are for the way it’s used and perceived around the world.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 9th March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 9th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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