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English - A Global Language
Faktaoppgave om engelskspråkets betydning i verdenssammenheng.
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One of the world’s oldest international groupings of nations is “The Commonwealth Of Nations”. There were five countries that were original members of the modern Commonwealth created by the Treaty of Westminster in 1931. These five countries were: The United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
Altogether, the Commonwealth consists of 54 countries in all the continents of the world. The Commonwealth has a population of 1.8 billion people, scattered around the 30 000 000 square miles of Commonwealth land.
The Commonwealth leader is Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II. The Commonwealth’s official language is English.
The Commonwealth organization forms a family of equal brother countries. All of these countries are tied together with a British spirit which exists in a variety of cultures. Within the British Empire, they all share a common history.
This is a picture of the commonwealth royal standard:
The Commonwealth Of Nations has 54 member countries scattered all over the wide world. Here can you the countries sorted after their belonging continent.
Asia: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and India.
Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique , Mauritius, Seychelles, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
America: Canada, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Belize, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana.
Europe: United Kingdom, Cyprus and Malta.
Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Nauru, Kiribati, Fiji and Western Samoa.
Why a commonwealth?
Cooperation and consultation is officially the two main purposes of the Commonwealth. All the sovereign member countries will in every domestic and foreign affair retain full authority. Despite this, Britain prefers to be in charge and control of the situations, especially matters of mutual interest. Britain’s position as the “leading” country of the Commonwealth is a tradition, and they try to maintain their old position as often as the can.
Periodically there are Commonwealth meetings where the Commonwealth heads of government make many decisions concerning their organization. But no decisions (at least the collective ones) made in these meetings is considered binding.
To make everything a lot easier, they decided to make a Commonwealth secretariat. This was established in 1965.
In the fields of trade, investment and development programs for new nations, there are many economic ties. In 1932, a collection of trade agreements begun at the Ottawa Conference. These agreements gave preferential tariff treatment to many raw materials and goods (manufactured) that were sold in Britain by other Commonwealth countries. But after Britain’s entry into the European Community (now called the European Union), this agreement was abandoned and the system of preferential tariffs have been inactive since 1973.
Canada is becoming more and more a multilingual society in the wake of growing numbers of immigrants whose mother tongue is neither English nor French. Mother tongue is defined as the first language a person learned at home in childhood and still understood at the time of the census.
Canadians reported more than 100 languages in completing the census question on mother tongue. The list includes languages long associated with immigration to Canada: German, Italian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Polish, and so on. However, from 1996 to 2001, language groups from Asia and the Middle East again recorded the largest gains.
A questioning has shown that 9 out of 10 people speak either French or English when they are at home.
Canada’s third most common mother tongue language after English and French, is Chinese. In fourth and fifth place is Italian and German.
Almost half of the Canadian population speaks a second language in addition to their original mother language.
Population increase is a fundamental driving force of change. It automatically increases human consumption of natural resources and releases of pollution, unless consumption patterns change to reduce per capita impacts. Historically, rates of consumption and pollution have been rising faster than population, both in Canada and globally.
Although Canada's population is growing slowly, their growth rate is higher than that in most industrialized countries. Our population growth is concentrated in areas with considerable environmental stresses, particularly around Toronto and Vancouver. Global population growth has global impacts that are felt in Canada, including pressures on the environment and demand for products that we export.
The world passed a historic landmark this fall, when the global population crossed the six billion mark, a doubling since the late 1950s. The rate of population increase is slowing, but is still at about 78 million new inhabitants of Earth every year. Current UN estimates are that we will hit 7 billion in only 13 more years, 8 billion in 28 years and 9 billion by just after mid-century.
Canada has a very large and diverse range of geographic features. Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 2 territories. Canada stretches from the Pacific Ocean on the west, to the Atlantic Ocean on the east. Northern Canada reaches into the Arctic Circle, while southern Canada stretches below the northern points of the United States.
Canada has a very small population, 28 million people, for its geographic size. Much of Canada is still wilderness, cover by forests. The Rocky Mountains cover a major part of western Canada -- British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and the western part of Alberta.
West-central Canada is mostly prairie, consisting of large grain farms.
The east-central parts of Canada are the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. These are major population and industrial areas.
The Maritime Provinces on the east coast rely very heavily on the Atlantic Ocean for their way of life.
Points of interest:
The majority of Canada is still wilderness. This makes Canada a popular spot for hunting and fishing.
Niagara Falls is one of Canada's best known tourist attractions. It is the largest falls in the world, measured in volume of water.
Most of Canada's northern islands are located inside the Arctic Circle.
The industry varies as you look across Canada. British Columbia, on the west coast, has historically relied on natural resources such as mining and timber. Manufacturing is now becoming much more important to the economy. Alberta has benefited from considerable natural resources including oil and natural gas. It is also rich in minerals such as zinc, silver, nickel and uranium.
Ontario and Quebec are the industrial center of Canada. They have a wide variety of manufactured goods. The lower part of Ontario also has very rich farm land, with many orchards. This Niagara area is also known for its wine production.
The maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland rely heavily on fishing and natural resources such as timber. Prince Edward Island is also well now for its potatoes.
The prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and parts of Alberta produce more than 20% of the world's wheat. Other forms of farming and cattle also contribute to the economy.
Climate and history:
With Canada being so large, the climate varies considerably throughout the country. Canada is generally known for its cold winters and hot, but short, summers.
Native Americans lived in Canada for thousands of years. In the early 1600s, colonists from Britain and France began to settle in eastern Canada, along the St. Lawrence River.
Canada proved to be an excellent spot for trapping and trading of furs.
In the 1800’s, settlers began to push west. Most of the Native Americans were displaced by the Europeans.
About 75 percent of Canada’s population live in big cities or towns, and most of the country’s inhabitants live less then 100 miles away from the US border.
English is important:
A ten year old kid, who went to a school in Brazil, got plenty of questions when all of a sudden he had to move to the United States to continue his education there. The American students had much to say, and from one little boy it popped out: “Why does Brazilians make T-Shirts with English typing on it?”
He replies: "It must be because Brazilians think that other languages are more important than Portuguese."
This is not exactly true, but they understand that English is their key to making a living.
When they make T-Shirts with American messages on it, more Americans will buy it. If they had put Brazilian words on it, they would have sold a lot fewer Shirts.
It should be emphasized, though, that for a large proportion of more than 160 million Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, English is not any other language. Rather it is the language associated with a number of often unarticulated issues, from better job opportunities to participation in the world of fashion and entertainment; from access to knowledge to an increase in power.
One of the reasons why English is called a global language is because there are so many people that speak it. It is the most spoken language in the whole world, except for Spanish.
75 percent of the worlds faxes and mails are made in English. Another fact that obviously shows that English is a global language, is that 60 percent of all the telephone calls in the world, are made in English.
The reason why exactly English became the global language is not determined yet. There are so many options. What we know for sure is that it has something to do with the extraordinary rich vocabulary of the English language.
Another possibility is that the language is quite easy to learn. The definition of an international country, is when it is spoken by people all over the world.
Spreading a language
Thousands of years ago, the Romans invaded, fought battles and were alone the masters of the world.
In the period when they reigned, their own language, Latin, was spread all over the world, and it didn’t take long before everyone knew how to pronounce and write some Latin.
In modern time, the same thing happened once, at the end of the 19th century. Britain was the world’s largest empire, and they had very much power over the other countries in the world.
In this period, they spread their language too, and that’s how English first became a global language.
Statistics Canada, CANSIM
* United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision, forthcoming (2050 population estimate)
The teaching book.
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