English as a Global Language?

English as a Global Language?

Inevitably, global language is associated to the globalisation, which is one of the factors and symbol for the themes that English language has become the dominate language in the world today. Through media you can see and hear a President, Politician, Celebrity, Musician from over the world represent English as the primary language. Wherever you go, there are many English signs and advertisement. In every hotel or restaurant in foreign city, they could understand English and there will be a menu in English.

1.Why English?

There is kind of statement that seem obvious the spread of English. English is a global language, so they say.

But is it English is the language that everyone in the world speaks? This is surely not true. Is it every country recognizes English as their official language? This is not true as well. So what does it mean to say that a language is a global language? English seems cited to this connection. Once language becomes a global language, will it be last forever?

Those are the fascinating question that can be explored. As I have explained in my previous article that English is not the only language that has become a global language through the course of history.

In fact, the idea of a ‘global language’ is older than English.

The spread of English around the world could raise bumpy feelings. For example, if you are native speaker, you may feel pride, while also shaded with concern, when you realize that people in other countries may not use the language in the same way as you do.

On the other hand, if your English is your second language, you may have mixed feelings of about it, such as losing your own mother-tongue, even deeper in losing your identity. Consequently, the extinction of your own language and the loss of uniqueness cultural identities are inevitable.

  1. Is English a global language?

Today, the closest illustration in this case is English, which has special status in over seventy countries in the world. This fact is beyond the status achieved by any other languages, such as French, German, Spanish, Russian and Arabic that are among those that also have develop a considerable use.

Many would reasonably claim that, in the field of business, academics, science, computing, education, transportation, politics, and entertainment. English is already established as de facto ‘lingua franca’.

Historically, political supremacy and the desire for commercial, cultural and technological contact are the reasons for choosing particular language as a favored of foreign language.

In several centuries back, English had become the world’s leading industrial and trading. Their economy was the most productive and a fastest growing in the world. The British political imperialism had sent English around the world.

Furthermore, during the course of twentieth century the world presence was maintained and promoted almost single hand through economic and cultural supremacy in arts, film and television; business and finance, computing, information, technology and internet of the new American superpower. Therefore, economic replaced political as the chief driving force, and the language behind the US dollar is English and that continues to maintain until today.

Moreover, many great books, science, research, information, knowledge, tapes, computers, telecommunication system are all preserved in English.

The question is that, is everyone having access to English language and being able to learn it through the media, libraries, schools and education institution? Of course not all countries could have access to it.

Then, how about people who do not have access to learn English?

  1. Critical Age

It is still ambiguous that English emerge as a global language; however the spreading of English is truly remarkable. However, there still some way to go for English language becomes a universal reality. It has still a very limited presence in certain parts of the world. Many countries tend to preserved their cultural identity, and devoted the role of their language (e.g French, Arabic, Spanish etc). Notwithstanding, the general world trend, there are many linguistic confrontations still needs to be resolved.

  1. What about the future?

Although English currently appears to be in an unquestionable position today, the question is still remains. Will it be last?

In the middle ages, Latin seemed forever sets as the language of education and culture, as did French in eighteenth century. But circumstances change and there are several factors which might precipitate such change once again.

The USA, with its dominance in economic, technical and cultural terms, is the driving force behind English in the world today. However, if USA were losing its position of economic and technical domination; the language may well shift to the dominant power.

Currently, perhaps China is one of the possible candidates in terms of its economic domination, but it is not difficult to imagine circumstances in which it could happen.

instead, Arabic may be once again flourish in terms of its religion domination, and cultural tradition and the fact as the liturgical language of Al-Quran.

Or perhaps any other languages, that depends on who holds the power, influence and dominate the world.

Whether or not a global language is necessary in order to pursue order, peace and unity, and to make world a better place; language is one of the mediums on human connection, and so we must realize from the fact that human connection are deeper than words. Language is not the only thing that holds people together and connecting people from any other parts of the world. But language is one of the ways in achieving those connections and to make sense the world we live in. Therefore, the first revelation is to read.

 

 

A Global Language; on its historical dynamisms

A Global Language; on its historical dynamisms
Language and its story
Language and its story

Language is inevitably playing a key role on human lives and one of the most essential tools of human capacity. Through languages we can understand each other, telling stories and even deeper uses in describing and communicating our thought, feelings and emotions.

Historically, languages has been changed and modified. Thus, several languages through its dynamics context have connecting people from many parts of the world. Global language may connect to the power holder which depends on who dominate the world that have swift from time to time.

The origin at human language will perhaps remain for over obscure. There are about 5000 languages spoken today, but scholars group them into few families’ roots, probably less than twenty.

Languages are linked to each other by shared words or sounds or grammatical constructions. The theory is that the members of each linguistic group have descended from one language, a common language.

The most widespread group of languages today is Indo-European, spoken by half world population.

Language tree
Indo-European is the roots of today’s language families

Another linguistic group of significance in the early history of West Asia and still of great importance today, is the Semitic family of languages, among them are Hebrew, Phoenician, Aramaic and Arabic. These also believed to derive from the language of just one tribal group, possibly nomads in Southern Arabia.

Why a Global Language?

First of all, what does it mean to claim that a language become a global language? What languages that has been considered as a global language? Do we actually need a global language? Once a language becomes a global language, will it be last forever? Is it global language is just a utopia idea? Such question is interestingly needed to be considered and explore.

I’d like answer these questions based on the understanding from historical perspective of the global language that has been the main concern of language course over the centuries.

There’s many who said that, language is a sensitive subject to the way other people use. The abusive concern is that, a feeling in possessiveness of the language itself. Indeed, there’s a consequence in global language, such as the lost sense of belonging of ‘our’ language. It seems that global language has built the feelings that nobody owns it anymore, or rather people who learns it now owns it, or has a shared in it, and has the right to used it in their own way. Consequently, this makes people feel uncomfortable for the native speaker and people who are studied it for the second language.

However, these feelings are considered natural. There are of course pros and cons in making a language a global language, or it is just a utopia idea or just a paradigm. Although, this facts alone gives rise to fears, whether real or imaginary, and inevitably fears leads to conflict.

A language is marching; language is like a hunger-strike, marginal language is decreasing and death is the facts in several countries.

Globalisation is one of the reasons in emerging global language and the spread of and integration of ideas and information has a great impact, in pursing the advent and faster communication in political, economics, education, laws are encounters for millions today.

Therefore, it seems that there’s a close link between language and power.

What is a global language?

There may be no exact definition of ‘global’ or ‘world’ language. However, it is more concern on a language that is used and spoken internationally and learned by a large number of people as a second language. Moreover, it may also regard to the geographical distribution and the use of a language by International organisation and diplomatic relations.

Historically, the establishment of global language according to who wield power, for example, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, French and English is no exception are among those who establish global language in such terms.

A language may become a global language for one main reason: the power of its people, including their political and military power. The explanation could be the same throughout history.

Then, how does a language come to achieve global status?

A global language can be considered as a ‘lingua franca’ a common language that enables people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicity to communicate on a more or less equitable basis.

A language may achieve a global status when a language taken up by other countries around the world, and develop a special role that is recognized in every country.

What makes a global language?

Historically, Latin became an International language during the reign of Roman Empire. The reason behind it is that, was not the Romans were many than the people they dominated. But merely, Roman was more powerful and had a significant influence.

Moreover, France, which has long been the language of communication and diplomacy, and the favored second language among elite and educated classes in Europe in their time, but still remains one of the working languages of many International languages.

Arabic, gained international prominence because of the Islamic golden age and the spread of Islam throughout middle east, Northern Africa and small part of Europe. And it is also a Liturgical Language (sacred/ holy language), among Muslim outside Arab world. Arabic language plays a key role for the translation as a basis of many important knowledge and scientific texts during the age of enlightenment in European Renaissance.

And also, Chinese language that spread as a historical lingua franca in the Far East Asia. And so, other languages, such as Russian, Spanish and also in the major languages of the Indian subcontinent, South Asia and South-East Asia such as Sanskrit.

Other historical significance of global language as ‘lingua franca’ of a historical empire is including Egyptian in ancient Egypt; Sumerians and Aramaic in various Mesopotamia civilizations.

Moreover, several Semitic languages play a prominent role part in the early civilization of the region, from the Babylon and Assyrians to the Hebrew and Phoenicians. Aramaic becomes for a while the ‘lingua franca’ of the Middle East.

Therefore, without strong power-base, no language can achieve such status in making progress as an International medium of communication. The close link are between language domination, technological and cultural power. Language may have no independent existence, which live in a kind of mystical space apart from the people who use it, it exists in the brain and mouths and ears and hands of it users. When they succeed in International stage, their language succeeds, and vice versa.

Why did Greek become a language of International communication in the Middle East over 2000 years ago? It was not because of the intellect of Plato and Aristotle; the answer lies in the swords and spears wielded by the armies of Alexander the Great.

Why did Latin become known throughout Europe? The answer that Romans were simply dominate and more powerful.

Why did Arabic come to spoken widely across Africa and the Middle East? It followed the spread of Islam.

And so on, thus, global language and its explanation is the same throughout history, especially by the power of its people on the political, military, economic power on a global scale.

Do we need a global language?

Over centuries, translation has played a central role in human interaction. Some argued that the modern ‘global village’ needs a ‘global language’. Moreover, global language may bring unity and peace. Nevertheless, this assumption cannot be justifiable. For example, many wars and destruction is cause by the communities with the same language (e.g The British and American civil wars, The Spanish civil wars). Conversely, countries with multicultural and diversity manage to harmonize, and live quite peaceably (e.g Switzerland, Singapore, Canada).

What are the drawbacks of a global language?

There are many benefits of a global language; although it is not close the possibility could have some drawbacks. For instances, language diversity is decreasing, global language may threatening freedom of speech and multiculturalism, the extinction of minority languages and the loss of unique cultural diversity and also the suppression of social and ethnic identities.

Therefore, the idea of global language is still abstract and still not well-founded on its basis and because of its dynamism of the world through the change in circumstances and conditions that depend on the power-holder and singularity of influence. The fact that, there are a lot of traditional cultures and languages that still preserved today. Cultural identity is important in order to keep minority of their way of live, away from any force from the outside world to accept their way of life in the name of globalisation. Therefore, the idea of global language must be clear and respect any other culture that exist today if the world want to achieve a significance order, peace and unity.

If global language is necessary, a global language must cover all aspects of life that respect human being from its essential being and can be understood by everyone, a language that direct humanity to the truth of live and guided them to the straight path, apart from any interest of power-holder and political and economic of domination.

 

The Three Apples

The Three Apples

The notion of apple to be a forbidden fruit has been a source of debate throughout the age. Questionably, apple has changed the world, although this claim may still not accurate. The story is explained and evolved from the initial existence of mankind began on earth and relationship to God. Then a fruit that become an influence of a great scientific theory, until become a telecommunication brand that change the way people communicate. Therefore, the dispute of its verity is remarkably obligatory to be discussed and clarified.

  1. Adam and Eve

adam and eve
The story of Adam and Eve is one of the most well-known story told in various Holy Scriptures; mainly in The Al-Quran, The Bible and The Torah. Although some important main beliefs are diverge.

But did Adam and Eve really eat an apple from the forbidden tree? And why human thought it was an apple?

It is impossible to say it was an apple. None of those Holy Scriptures explicitly says that it was an apple. There is also no confirmation of what particular tree it was. The story is loaded with symbolic representation that we could have been misinterpreted.

However, the most plausible explanation of this confusion is that the apple idea may be due to the similarity of the two words in the Latin translation of the Bible. The word evil on the tree’s name in Latin is mali (Genesis 2:17), and the word apple in other places is mala (Proverbs 25:11) or malum (Song of Salomon 2:3).

After all, the story did give an essential lesson for mankind. It demonstrated human free will and depicted Satan is the real enemy to mankind. If God only gave them the good path choice means that would not be a choice at all.

2. Sir Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton describes the theory of gravitation, the three laws of motion and the field of optics

Sir Isaac Newton is considered as one of the most influential scientist we ever know today.

We are also familiar with his anecdote in the history of science in the past 250 years, while complete with embellishments and twists of historical facts.

But what evidence is there that Newton was really inspired by a falling apple? Unfortunately, he never mentioned the apple in any of his own journals and notebooks, and there is no explicit evidence to suggest that the apple hit him on the head.

One of the most notable revelations and strongest evidence for Newton’s apple come from William Stukeley, published in 1752, a quarter centuries after Newton’s death, who published Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s life.

“Newton cleverly honed this anecdote over time…The story was certainly true, but let’s says it got better with the telling. The story of the apple fitted with the idea of an Earth-shaped object being attracted to the Earth. It also had a resonance with the Biblical account of the tree of knowledge, and Newton was known to have extreme religious views”. Mr Keith Moore.

Therefore, the Newton apple’s story may be just  a myth and he used it as an example to explain his theory. Arguably, many of his invention had great influence of the works of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen). Perhaps, we would never know the full truth behind Newton’s apple. After all, Newton went on to develop his theory of gravity in the end.

3. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, a visionary behind the success of Apple Macintosh. These inventions changed the way we communicate and how we access information.

But why did he choose an apple as the logo?

Arguably, the main reason for its design and product are its simplicity, beauty, appealing design, and great performance in mind. Steve jobs think differently, and he thinks to change the world through technology.

What was the story behind it? Is there any connection with the forbidden tree?

 

First apple logo, designed by Ronald Wayne in 1976
First apple logo, designed by Ronald Wayne in 1976

Its featured depicts Newton is sitting under an apple tree; Inspired by a quotation by William Wordsworth that was also engraved into the logo that said: “Newton…A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought…Alone”

And other theories mention the connection to the idea of Adam and Eve story of the forbidden tree. Surely, Steve Jobs may have well-aware on this idea.

The rainbow apple, the second logo designed by Robert Janoff.
The rainbow apple, the second logo designed by Robert Janoff.

The second logo of Apple, designed by Robert Janoff

The logo was arguably tribute to Alan Turning, considered by many to be the father of the modern computer. A brilliant and closeted mathematician who killed himself by biting into an apple he’d laced with cyanide.

“One of the deep mysteries to me is our logo, the symbol of lust and knowledge, bitten into, all crossed with the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order. You couldn’t dream of a more appropriate logo: lust, knowledge, hope and anarchy”.

Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, then he replaced the multicolored logo with a more modern monochromatic look. However, he did not change the shape from its original. As a result, Apple’s logo becomes one of the most recognizable logos in the world today.

Apple logo from 1976 until present
Apple logo from 1976 until present

 

 

 

 

 

Caffeine and the Course of the Revolution

Caffeine and the Course of the Revolution

The history tells us the connection between the caffeine drinks to the defining moment of several important events that led to the Industrial revolution and the development of our civilization today.

lebanon-club

 

It’s hardly a coincidence that coffee and tea caught on in Europe just as the first factories were ushering in the industrial revolution. The widespread use of caffeinated drinks—replacing the ubiquitous beer—facilitated the great transformation of human economic endeavor from the farm to the factory. Boiling water to make coffee or tea helped decrease the incidence of disease among workers in crowded cities. And the caffeine in their systems kept them from falling asleep over the machinery. In a sense, caffeine is the drug that made the modern world possible. And the more modern our world gets, the more we seem to need it. Without that useful jolt of coffee—or Diet Coke or Red Bull—to get us out of bed and back to work, the 24-hour society of the developed world couldn’t exist. — National Geographic

 

China is considered as the homeland of tea and tea drinking, dating back to 5000 years. Meanwhile, among European, the Portuguese was the first Europeans who began the trade for tea commercially. The tea was widespread across Atlantic around 1700s, including the British colony who were aware about the commodity later on. The British merchant shipped the leaves all the way from China. Then, tea is brought to the America and demonstrates the rise of the consumer revolution in colonial America. Consequently, tea has played a key role in several important historical events such as the first opium war and the American Revolution. The significant impact of this commodity brought forward the political movement of the Tea Party demonstrates in Boston, on December 16th 1773.

boston tea party

 

In The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bitesauthor Libby H. O’Connell shows how the evolution of the country can be understood through changing trends in food and drink. Her exploration of the Revolutionary period covers products like wheat flour, oxtail, sugar, rum, and whiskey. In this excerpt about the rise in popularity of coffee and tea, she explains the role patriotism played in leading us towards our now ubiquitous coffee culture.

 

Similarly, Coffee is a mind altering substance that are so addictive and powerful to keep us awake and active on the personal level, and the broader level it shaped the history and the culture. Many said that after the Boston tea party, the American switch from tea to coffee.

 

“One of the ironies about coffee is it makes people think. It sort of creates egalitarian places-coffeehouses where people can come together-and so the French revolution and the American Revolution were planned in coffeehouses”.

Inevitably, coffee and tea had a significant impact in our civilization. Moreover, the ironies about the caffeine are that the plantation was built by the slave in the colonial period; the monopoly of the commodity becomes the source of the rise of the business for European domination.

Today, tea and coffee is consumed in every part of the world, become the most widely beverage consumed after water. The caffeine is the fueled of the industrial revolution, though the industrial revolution brought about the environmental destruction. Thus, would the caffeine is at the same time also bringing to the brink of the disaster to the earth?

The Long and Winding Road: Israel-Palestine Conflict, A Twenty-First Century Colonisation

The Long and Winding Road: Israel-Palestine Conflict, A Twenty-First Century Colonisation

 

It is not very surprising that conflict over Palestine-Israel do not find the meeting point yet. “The Holy Land”, home to the Abrahamic religion (Christian, Islam and Judaism) has been the source of conflict and changed hands many times throughout the history; from the Canaanites to the Israelite, Babylonians, Romans, Crusaders, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and British.

The control of the Holy Land is inevitably become an objective for the power holder in order to maintain the power and the influence over the region or even the world. In fact, the world still witnessed and experienced the savage and brutality of an old form of colonisation present in this twenty- first century.

“The pre-eminent obstacle to peace is Israel’s colonization of Palestine”.-Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, March 10, 2006

The modern phase of the conflict began in the late nineteenth century. At that time, the land of Palestine was a multicultural place which the population inhabited approximately 86 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian, and 4 percent Jewish. For centuries there was no conflict among them, and lived in peace.

A group of European Jewish, led by Theodore Herzl, organised a political movement, known as ‘Zionist’, one of biblical names for Jerusalem and they represent an extremist minority of the Jewish population. The goal are more sinister and radical rather than only establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The British had mandate over Palestine from 1920 to 1947, lead to the increasing number of the European Jewish immigrating into “Holy Land”. then, during the WWI, the British made deals to convinced Arab leaders to establish an independent Arab state in the region, including Palestine by encourage to revolt against the Ottoman Empire (which was controlled the Arabian Gulf and allied with Germany). At the same time, the British support the establishment of ‘a Jewish national home in Palestine, and, as a further complication, there was also a deal between Britain and France to carve up the Arab province of the Ottoman Empire and divide control over region.

After the WWII, the waves of European Jews immigrating to Palestine were increased desperately, fleeing the Nazi persecution. Consequently, the waves of violence were also escalated. In 1947, United Nations decided to intervene on the ongoing conflict, which UN recommended to give away 55% of Palestine to Jewish state under considerable Zionist pressure. Despite the European minority Jews represents only about 30% of the land, and owned fewer than 7% of the land. In 1948, the British withdrew from Palestine, which lead to the Israel declaration of Independence.

Israel conquered more land following the “Six Days war”, in 1967, which Israeli forces successfully occupied the heart of the land (Western Wall)-the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

For over 3 decades, the Palestinian has been living under a military occupation. The people have been without any nation, and have had limited rights, while suffering poverty and paying full taxes. Thousands of Palestinian refugees are prohibited from returning to their homes in the self-described Jewish state (and those within Israel are subjected to systematic discrimination). The humanitarian-crisis is escalated, therefore, the Palestinian refugees who number now millions and constitute the largest and longest suffering refugee population in the world.

The Palestine-Israel conflict seems like a never ending conflict, which every side have their own claim over the places. The Israeli Jews claim to the land based on a promise from God, and also for the need for the safe haven from anti-Semitic in Europe. Although, there are claimed to support European Jewish due to the interest of oil and to ensure an ally is there in the region.  While, the Palestinian claims that they are the rightful inhabitants of the lands because their ancestors have lived there for hundred years.

This ongoing conflict has become such a huge global issue that we really should pay attention. In fact, the mainstream media has been fairly one-sided in reporting the conflict. Hence, a far look at the origin of the conflict and seeing from wider perspectives are necessary to conceal the veil over this boundless conflict. Furthermore, the world needs to find solution in this matter because this conflict is inevitably affecting every single one of us.

“It is time for world conscience to wake up … It is time for the international legitimacy to say to aggressors, ‘Enough military escalation, enough killing and destruction against the Palestinian people’ — who will not be defeated no matter how harsh the aggressors use their destructive arms to kill our people”. -Yasser Arafat