1: Answer Key (p. 44)
- A Lingua Franca is a language used for communication by two people who are not native speakers.
- English is the world’s most important Lingua Franca because the language is spoken by about 1 billion people who are not native speakers.
- Queen Elizabeth I started the British colonisation.
- Great losses in the two world wars and political turmoil in Africa and the Indian sub-continent started the decline of the British Empire.
- Today the English language is spreading through channels such as the Internet, the media, studies, trade, multi-national corporations and travelling.
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but here are some facts that can be used in a discussion:
- Languages disappear every day, but research shows that the endangered languages are first and foremost those languages which are only oral. There are between 6000-7000 languages in the world today. Norwegian is probably among the 120 largest languages. So even though there are not many of us, we will probably keep our language for quite a while still. Norwegian is however constantly influenced by other languages and today in particular by English. We are exposed to the English language through the Internet and media. University text books are often in English and quite a few Norwegians speak or write English at work every day.
- Mandarin is the world’s largest language. In recent years China’s position in the world has changed dramatically. The Chinese are responsible for a large amount of production in the world. This forces most countries to do business with Chinese companies. Spanish has also more native speakers than English and is spoken in most countries in Latin America as well as in Spain. Hispanics are the fastest growing group of immigrants in the USA, and Spanish has therefore become the most important foreign language in American schools. In some of the south-western states the Spanish influence is visible in names of places and businesses and in the culture.