Why is English the International Language?

A globe on the desk next to the book.
22 November 2023

In today’s interconnected and rapidly evolving world, the concept of a ‘common language’ is more relevant than ever.

Most of us would agree that English is the global language of business, media, and diplomacy. So, with humble beginnings on a small island in Europe, English became the language of global significance.

But why is English the international language? What historical, geopolitical, and cultural threads have woven together to elevate it to such prominence?

We know that today it’s very common, but what has led to English as a business language, and why is English the lingua franca of the world?

This exploration serves not just to answer these pressing questions, but to understand the multifaceted role of language in binding human society and aiding global communication.

To be precise, how did English become a global language?

By delving into the depths of these facets, we unravel the reasons behind the ubiquity of this language. We’ll answer the question “Why is English considered a global language?” and its implications in a world rich with linguistic diversity.

Old man writing next to a candlestick.

How did English become a global language

Embarking on this journey requires us to look several centuries back, to a time when the world was a mosaic of empires.

To answer why is English considered a global language, one must delve not just in the story of English, but also ask about the historical, cultural, and technological forces that have propelled its influence. It’s all about discovering how did the English language spread around the world.

From the far-reaching influence of both the USA and the British Empire, and into the era of globalization and digital technology, English has woven itself into the world’s linguistic fabric.

Basic facts about the mother tongue of Shakespeare

  • It’s an official language in 53 countries, and native language of many English speaking countries (around 360 million people speak it as their first language, Babbel).
  • It’s the second language in the world per native speakers and the first language per the amount of people who actually speak English.
  • It no doubts counts as a sort of ‘universal language of business’. Though there are other languages prominently used in the global business world, English is the most spoken language there.
  • English speakers that aren’t native to this language are so many, that they create (created?) their own language. It’s called ‘globish’ and although it consists of most English words and rules, it incorporates a lot of neologisms and further facilitation to the language.

This phenomenon prompts much curiosity about why English is considered a global language and what this means for individuals, cultures, and global communication.

Two people sitting on the meadow.

Historical Context of the English Language

To comprehend why English is an international language, one must travel back to the origins of the language itself.

Rooted in Anglo-Saxon history, the English language began as a mixture of dialects before morphing across ages. It was shaped by wars, conquests, and cultural transformations. The real catapult, however, in the history of English as a global language, came with the age of the British Empire.

As the British Empire expanded its colonial reach, so did the English language, crossing oceans and borders.

This vast empire’s administrative and educational policies implanted English in numerous territories, explaining in part why was English chosen as the international language.

It wasn’t just a tool of communication but became a symbol of colonial power, and later, opportunity. The subsequent rise of the United States in the 20th century, especially post-World War II, marked another pivotal chapter.

American economic dominance, coupled with its cultural allure, contributed to why English is the international language.

Hollywood, pop culture, scientific progress, and technological advancements — America’s most significant exports — all conversed in English, making a compelling case for why English is a global language.

Several people sitting together.

The World of Globalization: Why is English a Dominant Language?

The tendrils of English spread further with globalization, the force that turned our world into a global village.

But is English the most widely spoken language in this scenario? Here, technology and economics hold the answers. With the digital revolution, English established itself as the main language of the internet, software development, and global finance, all fields that spearheaded globalization.

Is learning English in foreign schools an example of globalization? Absolutely so.

An aid to break language barrier in the globalized world

This era also highlights the practical importance of English language tools that bridge communication gaps.

Products like the Vasco Translator have become essential in this landscape. This universal translator offers a solution to real-time language translation and helping individuals navigate the linguistic complexity of the modern world.

This practicality extends beyond mere voice translation, fostering language learning, and providing deeper insights into why English is the international language.

A speech translator becomes especially useful in realms like international business, but not only there. In the globalized world, a photo translator — a feature of the Vasco device — also makes it possible to understand a written text anywhere you are.

A group of people in the old library.

English in Academia and Research: Science and Technology

The quest for knowledge and innovation further underscores why English is an international language.

From research papers to prestigious academic journals, the language of study and inquiry is predominantly English.

This trend, an echo from the past, stems from both the extensive resources available in English and the language’s ability to transcend borders, offering a common platform for the global exchange of ideas.

Academic institutions worldwide have recognized the importance of English, integrating English-based curriculums and courses to equip students with the necessary linguistic tools to engage with global discourse.

This systemic emphasis also answers the question “why is English the world’s lingua franca in education?”, facilitating mobility for international students and scholars, and ensuring their research reaches the broadest audience possible.

A view of old exotic town.

The Cultural Impact of English

Culture, in its many forms, speaks volumes about why English is a global language. Whether it’s the latest Hollywood blockbuster, chart-topping global hits, bestselling novels, or international tourism, English serves as a unifying force.

It allows cultural products to be exported, imported, and understood across diverse societies, highlighting why English is the international language of cultural exchange.

In this context, the role of tools like the Vasco Translator is again accentuated. As travelers explore foreign lands, these digital companions are indispensable, aiding tourists and professionals alike in immersing themselves in new cultural experiences without language barriers.

They symbolize why English is considered a global language, providing a bridge between diverse linguistic landscapes.

Two cups of tea on the teatable.

Challenges and Criticisms: Why was English chosen as the international language?

Yet, the dominance of English carries its share of complexities and criticisms. In its role as a global tongue, English’s prevalence raises concerns over linguistic imperialism and the overshadowing of less dominant languages.

The cultural nuances and intellectual richness carried in each language are at risk, prompting global thinkers to consider the implications of having a world so heavily leaning on English.

Two people sitting and writing on the desk.

Conclusion: How did English become a global language?

In encapsulating the journey of English and understanding why is English considered a global language, it’s clear that its story is ever-evolving.

The language has come to symbolize different things for different people: opportunity, innovation, knowledge, and sometimes, contention. The reasons behind why English is a global language are as diverse as the accents that enliven its words.

Aid yourself in the international environment

As we stand in an era where digital platforms and technology forecast the future, the importance of English language learning and translation tools like Vasco Translator becomes even more pronounced.

They represent the spirit of why English is an international language — its ability to adapt, evolve, and facilitate communication.

The narrative of English, rich with history and laden with future potential, confirms why English is the international language.

It isn’t just about the mechanics of communication but also about the human experiences behind the words — the ambitions, the innovations, the cultural expressions, and sometimes, the resistance.

Each facet provides a profound answer to why English is considered a global language, reflecting a world that strives to be interconnected while cherishing the unique identity that each language brings.

In a Nutshell

The article explores the ascent of English as the international language, emphasizing its historical journey from the Anglo-Saxon era through the British Empire’s expansion to the linguistic influence of the United States. It underscores how globalization, technology, academia, and culture have propelled English to its lingua franca status, despite criticisms of linguistic imperialism. The piece highlights tools like Vasco Translator, enhancing global communication and understanding, and concludes by reflecting on English’s multifaceted role in today’s interconnected world.


Is English an international language?

English is widely used in business life, in addition to being an official language of the United Nations, European Union, and NATO.

When did English become the international language?

There are several factors that contributed to English becoming an international language. One of the most important is globalization as English is the most widely used language on the Internet, in Software Development, and Global Finances. All of these sectors helped the world to become a global village.

Is English the most widely used international language?

With an estimated 1.5 billion speakers worldwide, English is considered the global lingua franca.

Why did English become the international language?

In addition to being the language of the Internet, modern technology, and many international organizations, English also owes its lingua franca status to historical factors. One of them is the vast expansion of the British Empire as well as American economic & pop-cultural dominance.

Is English still a global language?

Yes, English is still a global language, with very wide use on the Internet, in international organizations, and in Software Development.

Is English becoming a universal language?

While English is a global language, other languages, such as Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic, also play a significant role in international affairs. We would probably still wait some time for English to become a universal language, if at all.

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Robert Faber autor

Robert Faber

Robert is an avid traveler and a fan of new technologies. He can cook well, but never has enough time to do so and he ends up complaining about most meals. A regular at the gym.


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