ENGLISH IN THE FUTURE
Two English teachers Lynne and Greg are talking about learning English in the future.
QUESTION: Lynne, at what age do people start learning English these days?
Lynne: Well, in many countries children start learning English when they go to school but in some countries they’re starting to teach English to much younger children and I think this will become more and more common around the world.
Greg: I know that in some countries they are even having English lessons for six-year-old children.
Q: And, do you think that English will soon be the universal language?
Lynne: Oh,I think most adults already speak English, because English is very common and very useful.
Q: What about you Greg?
Greg: I think that’s right. There are so many English words that are used internationally, for example, “computer, radio, television, football”. So I think in years to come there’ll be very few people who don’t speak English.
Q: And, do you think, Lynne, that teachers will start using English to teach other subjects, for instance, geography or science, and that they’ll be used in schools all over the world?
Lynne: Yes, I do. I think that teachers will start experimenting with that. It’s the best way of learning English.
Greg: I don’t think that’s right. Some subjects will be in English certainly, for example, lessons in science, but there’s no reason why every single subject should be in English.
Q: Right. Now, what about British and American life and habits, do you think that it’s important to know about those?
Lynne: I don’t, not at all. I don’t think that English as a language has anything to do with double-decker buses, andbowler hats,and hamburgers and yellow taxis. It’s an international language and it can be used for communication between people who don’t know each other’s language, as atool really. So, I don’t think that the culturalroots of English are important at all.
Greg: I think you have to understand the culture of a country, simply because there are some words that mean different things to different people depending on what country they are in, for example, the word “tea” can be a drink to some people in one country and in another country it means an entire meal. The word “police” means different things to different people. You always have to know a little bit about thebackground and the culture of a country before you can fully understand the language.
Q: What about in the work? How important is English there, what’s its role?
Lynne: Well, I think it’s really important and I think more and more people will use it at work — it’s easily understood wherever you come from and I think, actually, everyone will need to use more English for their work.
Greg: I think some people will need to use more English, particularly people working in big companies who have to travel a lot and do a lot of business between countries. But I think for the majority of the population in any country whoaren’t involved in international business or moving around or travelling they’ll be very happy sticking to their own language.
Q: And the traditional language class as we know it — do you think that will continue or will there be other forms of teaching, such as, teaching involving television and computers?
Lynne: Well, I think that the traditional language class will still exist because of the contact is very important with the language, of course you can interact with the other students and I think that’s much more valuable than just relating to the computer screen or listening to cassettes.
Q: Do you agree with that, Greg?
Greg: Not entirely. We live in a computer age now and it’s highly likely that computers will allow people to learn foreign languages on their own, so that you aren’t dependent on teachers and other students. I’m not sure, but I think that’s how it’ll be.
Q: And finally, do you think that English will ever become more important than the language of the native speaker?
Lynne: Well, no. I think obviously English is important, but I think your own language and your own culture and traditions are more important to you and I think it’s good to respect those and to hold on to them.
Greg: Yes, I agree. 1 think it would be very arrogant to think that English would be more important than your own language, I mean, because your own culture and your personal identity and your national identity are, after all, far more important aren’t they?
Q: Thank you very much.
Greg: Thank you.