The Adventures of English Reflection Paper

The Incidental Propagation of English Language behind the Curtains of Human Affairs: Insights on the Episodic Documentary, The Adventures of English

Language has coexisted with the historic collaborative endeavor of people in meeting human needs and in adapting to drastic social, political, economic, and religious changes. English, as a global language, has been a product of time and of such changes, and has grown so much in structure and in communicative quality. Indeed, it has not escaped the influences and threats of other languages, yet it has evolved productively embracing these influences and threats as opportunities for continuous propagation.

English, as a social means, has inadvertently been defined by social processes and conditions all throughout human history. With words “ruthless,” “obstinate,” and “tenacious,” as consistently used by Melvyn Bragg to qualify English after the subjugation of the native Celts by Germanic tribes, it might be inferred that there was a social turbulence, and language became the expression of force and suffering. In the Medieval Ages, cross-cultural marriages and communications helped English gain momentum from the prevalence of French and Latin. During the 20th Century, migration and cultural diversities led to several avenues for varieties of English. American English was influenced by interstate migration of southern blacks to northern cities. Inarguably, the accumulation of foreign vocabularies to the English language stream and the enrichment of language structure equate with the active communication and participation of various cultural groups.

English has also been shaped by political backgrounds. Although French became the official language in most governmental and educational affairs after the Norman Conquest, English, the underground language, survived until the social upheaval that brought it up again on the surface of use and prestige. Moreover, English monarchs used the language in political activities and even advocated its aesthetic role in literature. Profoundly influential, England, during the age of exploration, diffused the language to the different regions of the word. With Western ideologies, some Asian countries even used English as a tool for the attainment of freedom and democracy. The cultivation and incidental spread of English language have also been attributed to some political agenda.

Fortuitously, English has gained so much profit as profitable trades have been transacted. It has benefited from words and expressions in different languages that merchants and consumers of diverse cultures have used. There has been not just a barter system but a significant cultural and linguistic interchange. With the Industrial Revolution that started in Great Britain, English has reached the busy ports and business centers of the world.

Not only that English has become the language of British colonization and of industrial Revolution, it has also served as an instrument of religious revolution. With the ambition and need of spreading Christianity throughout Europe, members of religious orders painstakingly translated the Holy Scripture from Latin to English. The Scripture in English even formed the foundation of faith for some groups of people leading them to become the guardians and protectors of the language. In the same manner, religion has also exerted a great effect on the language as Latin terms have been added to the English vocabulary. As religion is deemed a universal institution, English, in most religions, is one of the pillars that keep the faith among people.

English is a dynamic language. It has gone through different periods in which words and expressions from different languages have been borrowed. It keeps on undergoing changes alongside the social, political, economic, and religious changes that people have to adapt to. With approximately, 341 million people speaking English as a native language and a further 267 million speaking it as a second language in over 104 countries (Marwah, 2010), it is, in an honest assertion, a language that has satisfied the communication needs of most people.