(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1XpgnFx )
Street English – or more commonly known as the English someone picks up in the street not in any course or school, is something that most people in non-English countries used to use. But the question today is, with all the influx of technology and internet and globalization, can we still rely on this as a means of communicating?
The answer of course is no. I say this quickly because everyone knows it is a lot better to get some official training in the language before you can confidently say you can speak English. But what I want to look at here is, is street English dying?
I’m going to jump out of the box here and say yes and no!
Yes it is dying in the sense that there is so much more English to be learned outside of the schooling we do, as films, music and information is more often than not presented first in English to most if not all of the world. If someone has a passion to learn a language, their opportunities (outside of going to a school and learning it) are so much higher, so therefore the chances of improving your English is so much higher.
However, at the same time I will say no. I say no it isn’t dying, it’s actually expanding because the amount of new people who now have access to the same quality of English online, as everyone else.
We so often think of only 10 years ago when the biggest non-English speaking nations like China were completely and totally ‘un-English-ed’, in every sense of the (new word I just made up!) word. When I say ‘un-English-ed’, I am of course talking about a society that has had zero exposure to not only the English language but anything related to English including any kind of information or online facilities. China is definitely one country that had that, and of course there are many more.
Not so the case now. Particularly in China, you can now go to any city in China and find not only a speaker of English but with an American accent to boot!
This has changed the landscape of street English in these countries. So many international businesses have come to China to set up workshops and as a result connection as well as all the other medias, has become part of the daily life as getting up in the morning and reading eating your breakfast. The proficiency of the person in the street is still patchy but at least it is there.
One thing I would like to also point out is the impact of English on Europe.
Those these countries always had some English present in their schooling and most business people had some proficiency in it, however the new generation coming through these days in almost every European countries is downright ‘native’. This I believe is due to the internet, social media and just the desire to listen to western music.
I think one of the best examples of Street English becoming incredibly proficient is when I meet someone from Europe and when we get talking I hear firstly they are a native speaker, then secondly I hear a slight lilt of something in their voice and then ask them where they are from and for sure they will say Norway, Hungary or Germany etc.
French people still seem to have a strong accent however, but maybe someone else can tell me why.
What do you think?