Module 6: English isn't a Superior Language

This module aims to highlight how, as Glish conversation coaches, we need to rid ourselves of the notion that the English language is superior, and to appreciate the opportunity of listening to global voices in all their many forms of English. You’ll have a conversation with your mentor about all aspects of the following 5 sections. Be prepared to give short summaries of each Ted talk and to talk about how your own attitudes about the English language could have an impact on your effectiveness as a conversation coach.

The appetite for English

Latest research from the British Council predicts that the number of people actively learning English around the world is set to exceed 1.9bn by 2020. It’s estimated that there are currently over 1 billion people learning English worldwide and this will double in a little over five years.

WATCH

English Mania - Jay Walker

THINK

Why do you think so many people are trying to learn to speak English? Do you think ‘English mania’ is good or bad?

English is not a Superior Language

People across the world today use English to communicate with each other. Through several historical factors, English emerged as the international language of business, politics, research and shared thinking in the 21st century. Yet, it could so easily have been French at one point in time! Fluency in English is a useful tool for people and Glish coaches can help clients work on their fluency but to do so effectively, we need to be aware of the influence of English.

WATCH

Don't Kill Your Language - Suzanne Talhouk

THINK

Examine the issues raised when English is seen as a ‘superior’ language.

The Traditional ESL Approach

There are 2 main examining boards, TOEFL and IELTS, for professional qualifications in English competence, assessing student levels in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Many of our clients have experienced these programmes. For some, entrance to college, criteria for jobs or immigration to an English speaking country demands success in one of these qualifications.

At Glish, we supplement standard test preparation with a focus on conversational fluency. English fluency is the goal, interesting conversations are the ‘carrot’ and, well, there is no ‘stick’, no fixed agenda, no final exam, no pass or fail. Clients have testified to the helpfulness of using Glish along with standard test prepartion. Glish helps them to "speak" better.

WATCH

Don't Insist on English - Patricia Ryan

THINK

What is your opinion about English language evaluation tests? What are some differences between learning English as an academic subject and learning English via a platform like Glish?

English is a Living Language

Use of English varies dramatically amongst nationalities, generations, regions, audience and throughout history. We have rich and varied ways of expressing ourselves in English, and they are constantly changing.

WATCH

Go ahead, make-up words - Erin McKeen

3 ways to speak English - Jamila Lyiscott

THINK

Examine your own attitudes about the English language.

Further Reading

How did English become the world’s most widely spoken language?

Is English or Mandarin the language of the future?

The Future of Language