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Across Cultures, English is the Word Essay

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Updated: Jun 25th, 2019

Across Cultures, English is the Word is an article written by Seth Mydans and published in The New York Times on April 9, 2007. The article argues that English has conquered the world in a manner that no other language has done (Mydans, 2007). The author speculates that in the near future English will become a global language.

A number of critics have come up to criticize his view. The critics argue that prominence of the English language will reduce in the future in the same way the Latin language did in the 16th century. The above critics believe that for a specific language to be determined as the global language of the future it must meet certain conditions.

Mydans wrote the article to inform his audience about the universality of English and the possibility of its continuation. In fact, most students are aware that English is a global language. However, through the article the author instills pride among them. On the other hand, Mydans’ article informs non-English speaking students that there is a need for them to learn the language.

As such, English will enable them to associate with more people than any other language would do. Based on the above arguments, it is apparent that the article’s main audience comprises of students and scholars of rhetoric who speak English as their first or second language. These are the native and non-native English speakers.

The author’s secondary audience is comprised of scholars who do not speak English. The writer wanted to enhance a sense of pride among the English speakers, whereas for the non-English speakers the writer wanted to motivate them to learn the language so that they can fit into the tomorrow’s global society.

The article makes use of ethos to emphasize the topic of discussion. Using statistics as substantiation, Mydans supplied an impetus for action. To substantiate on his claims, he uses findings from professional linguists. For instance, he mentions a renowned linguist from the Institute of Manhattan, John McWhorter.

McWhorter believes that there is no known language, which can replace English as a global one. The author refers to some English experts in parts of his article. In the article, David Crystal, a professional in English language, is mentioned. The author states that Crystal believes that humanity has transformed so significantly in the recent past that history should not be used as a lead to future anymore.

Another expert mentioned in the article is Mark Warschauer. Warschauer is a lecturer at the University of California. He teaches languages and informatics (Mydans, 2007). With regard to Warschauer’s findings, the author asserts that to be educated globally one has to be acquainted with English. All through the article, the author substantiates the facts by acknowledging their sources.

In the article, the major argument is about whether English evolution will survive for the next centuries. Critics have argued that several common languages have been spoken in the past centuries. They assert that every language has been spoken at its own time (Mydans, 2007). Therefore, there is the rise and the fall of every common language. Equally, the critics believe that this era is the time for English to thrive as a common language.

In the future, the language may die like some other languages such as Phoenician and Sogdian. The author argues against this idea by suggesting that English is here to stay. As such, he argues that English has conquered the world in a manner that no other language has done. He speculates that in the near future English will become a global language. As indicated above, he refers to some linguists’ findings as his support to prove that what happened in the past does not dictate what will happen in the future.

Other arguments represented in the article focus on whether the language belongs to the native English speakers and whether the future of the language will retain its rules of grammar and pronunciation. Unlike some individuals, the author believes that English will no longer belong to the native English speakers in the future. He speculates that all English speakers will be the owners of the language irrespective of their cultures or geographical regions.

The writer’s attitude toward the subject matter is positive. Throughout the article, his choice of words indicates that he is certain that English will become a common language spoken across all the nations in the future. He mentions his critics, but he does not provide the readers with the detailed information or the effects of the criticisms on the subject matter.

Newspapers and other publications can be categorized into different genres. Across Cultures, English is the Word is a feature article (Mydans, 2007). Notably, the writing style employed in the article is different from the styles used in the news articles. Unlike the news reports, this article is longer and more detailed. In the article, the writer referred to several existing works implying that several hours were spent on researches before the article’s facts were written.

Equally, more time was spent on finding a way to articulate the facts in a manner that would please and attract attention of the readers. After reading through the article, I noted that the article embodies all the characteristics of feature article genre. As such, the article is well researched, attracts the attention of the readers, and pleases the audience.

From the heading of the article to the way the paragraphs have been organized, it is apparent that the article is effective in passing its main points to the audience. The introductory paragraph sets the tone of the writing captivating the reader to read more of the article. Even non-native English students would be tempted to read the article.

The author’s goals are clearly stated in the article. His main goals were to inform his audience that English is spreading at an alarming rate. In the article, all the supporting arguments are relevant to the main topic. Through this, the readers would not be distracted. Equally, the author uses simple words in the article to communicate his messages to the audience. Throughout the article, neither jargons nor clichés have been used. In addition, the writer uses short sentences and short paragraphs.

I believe that the intended readers of this article have shared values and assumptions. Most of the English-speaking students and scholars unlike other languages’ scholars do have much interest in learning non-English languages compared to the interest the non-English speaking students have in learning the language. The lack of enthusiasm comes from the assumption that everyone will be conversant with English in the future.

Reference

Mydans, S. (2007, April 9). Across cultures, English is the word -The New York Times. Retrieved from

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