The ascension of English as the international language of commerce and culture has impacted several facets of globalization, the least of which certainly isn’t education. The demand for English language education grows daily, but occasionally we stop and wonder how why it’s become so ubiquitous. Author Robert McCrum may have the answers. In his new book, Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language, McCrum traces the history of English from the Saxon settlement of the British Isles through the Norman Conquest, the Great Vowel Shift, and Noah Webster to its rapid proliferation as the world’s lingua franca.
You can read a more in-depth review and listen to an interview with the author on NPR’s Morning Edition.
UPDATE: For some interesting afternoon listening, hear about the National Spelling Bee going on in Washington DC today and get a mini-lesson on English phonology, orthography, and etymology from NPR’s the World.