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We all agree nowadays that English is used as a common means of communication

worldwide and it serves as an international tool shared by many cultures to interconnect. Most of
the English speakers in the world are non-native. A Romanian, Scandinavian, Asian or African
might all carry a conversation in English and it comes very natural to learn English nowadays, due
to the global world we live in. I will be trying in this paper to swiftly go through historical facts and
ideas as an attempt to reveal how did English language manage to diffuse and be culturally
assimilated at global scale, overpassing and transcending individuals` and groups` natural
ethnocentric tendencies.
It is my intention to bring in front of the readers the idea that people think more in terms of
stories than facts, figures or equations and, that the simpler the story, the better and easier to
assimilate by more individuals and groups. We all now globally share a common story, the story of
capitalism. Marked by a strong desire to explore and conquer, after the first geographical
discoveries and the protestant (Anglican) Reform of the church, Anglo-Saxons (with strong Celtic
and Viking origins) were always there in the creation of new stories for themselves and for the rest
of the world.
Along history, humanity shared common stories as the fascist (German), communist
(Russian) or liberal (English), to name just the most recent ones. If first two have proven to have
failed (despite some remains of these doctrines scattered here and there in some countries), the
liberal-capitalist story remained the dominant guideline in regards to how humanity perceives and
judges its past and its future. The liberal-capitalist story (which has money as central commonly
recognized symbol, invested with value) glorifies the value and power of liberty, which has been
gained through continuous struggle under oppressive regimes and systems. Free initiative has
overpassed economic restrictions, people have learned to think for themselves and follow their
hearts within the general frame of society.
There were several lingua francas along history and I will try to stick here with the Mare
Nostrum civilizations: Aramaic, Babylonian, Greek and Latin. Most of them manifested on
relatively narrow territories if we were to compare with the present times, when one relates to the
whole world. But they all together constituted the nucleus of the old European languages among
which the new lingua franca emerged. These languages developed and diffused around the world
along human history for different reasons, especially economic and trade related, but also religious,
cultural, diplomatic and political etc It is not the number of mother tongue speakers which makes a
language important, but the extent to which a language is found useful outside its original setting.
By the end of the 20th Century, English was more widely scattered, most widely spoken and written
than any other language before. It had become the language of the planet, the first truly global
It is absolutely necessary not to overlook here the fact that English is considered to be an
easy to learn language. It consists of a cosmopolitan vocabulary, most of it foreign born, with roots
in Latin, Celtic, Germanic and other Romance languages. It is Germanic but it is a Latin language in
the same time, therefore it comes easy to be understood and learned. Will be familiar to a German,
an Italian, French or Romanian. English shares the same structure as previous lingua francas, as
previously mentioned. Its simplicity in what regards the grammar and the flexibility of its parts of
speech, creates a simple syntax. It is a language that transformed and adapted along history,
depending on the territories it has been used. It hasn`t been too strictly regulated and one might say
the principle of laissez-faire applied also in this case.
In the 17th Century, when Puritans in their try to escape religious persecutions got to the
shores of America and founded the colonies of the New England, they brought with them not just
their stories and believes, or the desire to settle on new lands, but also their language. Although few
centuries later Washington declared its independence to Great Britain, English remained the
language of what today is the greater economic and cultural power of the world, USA. Same story
repeated in Australia, where the convicts of Britain set shore at the end of the 18th Century.
Previous in Great Britain, the grounds of the new liberal-capitalist system started to be
established. Anglican reformation, Magna Charta with its political and economic freedoms for the
nobles, the fall of the King and the establishment of the first modern Parliamentary system, the
spread of the British companies in the new found lands in their seek for gains, all these, created a
favourable context for the Industrial Revolution. By the early eighteen century simple machines had
already been invented for basic jobs. Technical discoveries rapidly diffused in Europe and in the
new colonies. Mass production became possible for the first time. Replacing Dutch cities and prior
to them Venice and other Italian state cities, London became the heart of the new economic order,
centre of civilization, of ideas and of capital. New British companies settled all over the world.
The social effects of the industrial revolution were enormous and started to spread worldwide,
together with English. In the 19th century, after the defeat of Napoleon, Britain wanted two main
things in Europe: a balance of power and a free market in which its own industrial and trade
superiority would have given a clear advantage. Outside Europe, Britain wished its trading position
to be stronger than anyone else`s. Its navy was present in almost every ocean of the world and it
carried several economic wars in order to gain this supremacy. After the loss of the American
colonies in 1783, its attention was drawn to China, India, Australia and Africa. During the reign of
Queen Victoria, Britain became the largest empire ever known in history.
With the two Great Wars from the first half of the 20 th century, the shift of power between
Great Britain and USA took place.
One of the most important stages in the process of global unification and of assimilation of
English language occurred, therefore, in the last two centuries, when empires grew and trade
intensified. The first universal order to appear was economic. For the conquerors the entire world
was an empire and all humans potential subjects. A century ago, almost any place on earth could
have become a part of the British Empire. By the late modern era, the entire world was a single
monetary zone, relying first on gold and silver, and latter on few trusted currencies as the British
Pound and American Dollar. The global empire nowadays is not governed by any particular state or
ethnic group. Very similar with the Roman Empire (when Latin became lingua franca), it is ruled by
a multi-ethnic elite and held together by a common culture, common interests and common story.