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Teaching English in a global context
12 May 2014 Zuzana Vilikovská Culture & Society
MORE than one billion people worldwide are learning English as a second or foreign language, and the number is growing. The difference between the two groups amounts to speakers of English as a foreign language using English occasionally for business or pleasure, while English as a second language speakers use English on a daily basis, the British Council wrote. The total number of English speakers has grown from one quarter to one third of the global population, Professor David Crystal wrote in 2008.
Crystal will be one of the keynote speakers at the ELTForum (English Language Teaching Forum), which will take place on June 6-7, 2014 in Bratislava; he will speak on "The Future of Englishes". The ELTForum is a conference specifically designed for English teachers, aimed at developing pedagogical skills and reflecting new trends and expectations in the teaching of foreign languages. Other speakers include, among others, Maggie Kubayiova, Gabriela Lojová, Eva Vargová, Craig Huxley, Lejla Saric, Anita Adnan, Rakesh Bhanot.
Some of the workshop presenters are well-respected international ELT practitioners while others are better known here in Slovakia. The conference is organised by the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers (SCET), the Association of Language Schools and a civic association of private language schools (the Bridge, Empire, E-KU, International House, Academia Plus and Harmony).
The Slovak Spectator approached David Crystal with a handful of questions concerning the status of English in an international context and its potential future development.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What, in your opinion, has helped make English a global language, even in an era when the sheer numbers of speakers of Spanish and Chinese are growing so fast?
TSS: Why has the concept of an artificial universal language, e.g. Esperanto, failed (to the benefit of English)?
TSS: English has been developing (as probably every language) ever since, but how has its more recent role as the global language influenced its development? What are the current tendencies and expected trends for the future development? Does this increased spread of use influence the language for native speakers?
TSS: Has the teaching of English (as a mother tongue and as a second/foreign language) changed in recent years? If yes, in what way?
TSS: How has the spread of the internet impacted journalistic English, and the English language more in general?
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