The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Inside The Commons: Reinventing The HouseSaturday, 22nd October 2016 17:30 - BBC Two (Scotland only)In the final part of this major four-part series, battles break out over the future of the House. Read more: Inside The Commons: Reinventing The House
The Bottom Line: Autumn 2016: Activist investorsSaturday, 22nd October 2016 17:30 - BBC Radio 4
Inside The Commons: Reinventing The HouseSaturday, 22nd October 2016 18:00 - BBC Two (England only)
Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes: FantasyMonday, 24th October 2016 21:00 - BBC Four
BBC Inside Science - 2016/2017 series: Lithium Batteries, HCFCs, Cell Mapping and Hunting DogsAvailable for over a yearThis week’s Inside Science looks at what we demand from batteries and plans for a human cell atlas. Read more: BBC Inside Science - 2016/2017 series: Lithium Batteries, HCFCs, Cell Mapping and Hunting Dogs
The Bottom Line: Autumn 2016: Activist investorsAvailable for over a year
Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes: DetectivesAvailable until Friday, 18th November 2016 22:00
Methods in Motion: Remaking self-helpDr Meg-John Barker discusses how new ways of thinking can be linked to new forms of investigation Read more: Methods in Motion: Remaking self-help
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
Liquidity managementIn this free course you will focus on liquidity management, one of the fundamental aspects... Try: Liquidity management now
Introduction to bookkeeping and accountingLearn about the essential numerical skills required for accounting and bookkeeping. This free... Try: Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting now
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.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (2.4 MB)
- PDF (3.3 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (246.6 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (2 MB)
- Kindle (655 KB)
- RSS (226 KB)
- HTML (246.6 MB)
- SCORM (246.6 MB)
- OUXML Package (27 KB)
- OUXML File (84 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
- Moodle backup (246.2 MB)
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.