The World’s English Mania

문득 든 생각이다.

흔히 세계에서 사용되는 언어는 6000여개가 되고,  그것이 각 민족의 고유한 문화와 생활을 유지하는 데에 필수적이라 한다. 영어로만 통용되는 미래를 우려하는 사람들이 주장하는 것은 …경제적 이유, 현대화의 이유 등으로 지구촌 사람들은 점점 자신들만의 고유언어를 포기하고 영어제국으로 들어오게 되면서 14일에 한개의 언어가 죽어간다고 우려한다. 그들은 번역이 불가능한 표현이 있슴을 주장한다. 거기에 Jay Walker의 ‘The World’s English Mania’는 또 다른 견해를 분명히 피력하고 있다. 단지 경제적이유만이 아닌 영어가 가진 세계화(Globalization)의 필연성은 지구촌 문제를 풀어가기 위한 ‘Problem Solving common language’, 한 마디로 지구촌 환경 등 상존한 문제를 ‘소통’으로 풀어가기 위해서 확산되어야 할 언어라는 주장이다.

The World’s English Mania라는 제목은 확실히 눈길을 끈다.

그리고 그것이 잠자고 있던 15억 중국인의 최근의 교육열과, 세계 경제에 차지하는 엄청난 위력을 떠올린다면…초등학교 3학년부터 의무적으로 법에의해(By Law) 교육하는 영어와 그 결과가 우리의 미래와도 큰 영향이 있기 마련이다.

얼마 전 식량전생을 들었다면, 이제는 효과적인 경쟁력을 키워가는 국가간의 소통경쟁, 경쟁력있는 언어습득자의 능력과 수효에 선진국경쟁이 달려있다면…우리는 무엇을 준비해야 할까?


Jay Walker’s Profile

Let’s talk about manias. Let’s start with Beatlemania.
(Recording of crowd roaring)
Hysterical teenagers, crying, screaming, pandemonium.
(Recording of crowd roaring)
Sports mania: deafening crowds, all for one idea — get the ball in the net. (Recording) Goal! Okay, religious mania: there’s rapture, there’s weeping, there’s visions. Manias can be good. Manias can be alarming. Or manias can be deadly.
(Recording of crowd cheering)
The world has a new mania. A mania for learning English. Listen as Chinese students practice their English, by screaming it:
Teacher: … change my life!
Students: I want to change my life!
T: I don’t want to let my parents down!
S: I don’t want to let my parents down!
T: I don’t ever want to let my country down!
S: I don’t ever want to let my country down!
T: Most importantly… S: Most importantly…
T: I don’t want to let myself down!
S: I don’t want to let myself down!
How many people are trying to learn English worldwide? Two billion of them.
Students: A t-shirt. A dress.
Jay Walker: In Latin America, in India, in Southeast Asia, and most of all, in China. If you’re a Chinese student, you start learning English in the third grade, by law. That’s why this year, China will become the world’s largest English-speaking country.
Why English? In a single word: opportunity. Opportunity for a better life, a job, to be able to pay for school, or put better food on the table. Imagine a student taking a giant test for three full days. Her score on this one test literally determines her future. She studies 12 hours a day for three years to prepare. Twenty-five percent of her grade is based on English. It’s called the gaokao, and 80 million high school Chinese students have already taken this grueling test. The intensity to learn English is almost unimaginable, unless you witness it.
Teacher: Perfect! Students: Perfect!
T: Perfect! S: Perfect!
T: I want to speak perfect English!
S: I want to speak perfect English!
T: I want to speak … S: I want to speak …
T: … perfect English! S: … perfect English!
T (yelling more loudly): I want to change my life!
S (yelling more loudly): I want to change my life!
JW: So is English mania good or bad? Is English a tsunami, washing away other languages? Not likely. English is the world’s second language. Your native language is your life. But with English you can become part of a wider conversation — a global conversation about global problems, like climate change or poverty, or hunger or disease. The world has other universal languages. Mathematics is the language of science. Music is the language of emotions. And now English is becoming the language of problem-solving. Not because America is pushing it, but because the world is pulling it. So English mania is a turning point.
Like the harnessing of electricity in our cities, or the fall of the Berlin Wall, English represents hope for a better future — a future where the world has a common language to solve its common problems.
Thank you very much.

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