The Importance Of English As A Universal Language

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English has become a universal language, although it is not spoken the same way everywhere. It is the official language of most of radio and television programs and the internet. Therefore, the number of English speakers as a second/ foreign language is more than the number of native English speakers. According to Power (2005), estimates of the English-speaking population worldwide vary from 470 million to over 1 billion, among which 375 million speakers are native. There are even claims that the number of non-native speakers is 3 times as large as that of native speakers. In light of the definition of the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, an accent is a “way of speaking typical of a particular group of people and especially of the natives or residents of a region”. Concerning broader definition of accent, it is worthwhile to mention Kachru’s (1985) insightful research, in which he proposes the “Three Concentric Circles of World English” (1985: 12-13). The Inner Circle includes countries or nations where English is the first language to acquire, such as the US. The Outer Circle contains territories with multicultural and colonial background where English is adopted as the official language, such as India and Singapore. As for nations or regions in the Expanding Circle such as Taiwan, certain European countries and all Latin American countries, English is taught and used as a foreign language. If one considers the immense number of varieties within the three Circles, it is not hard to imagine how much difficulty it involves to comprehend all accents of English. Munro (1998) defined foreign-accented speech as “non-pathological speech produced by second language learners that differs in partially systematic ways from the speec... ... middle of paper ... ...ent on the accuracy of rendition in simultaneous interpreting, and difficulties of interpreting accents that face M.A students of translation in Yarmouk University. From the researcher point of view, this is an important issue since accent affects the accuracy of information transfer in simultaneous interpreting. English and Arabic have different sound systems; English has consonants that do not exist in Arabic like /g,p,v/ and the flap/r/, and English has more vowels which do not have counterparts in Arabic. Non-native English, as well as its impact on the simultaneous interpreter’s rendition, is therefore what motivates the researcher to conduct the current study. In this study, the researcher aims to investigate the effects of the phonemic (vowels and consonants) deviation and the prosodic (intonation and stress) ones that differ from native to nonnative accents.
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