English language may be considered as having many strengths as compared to its weaknesses and threats.
Some of the strengths of the language lie in its universal nature. It is a language spoken all over the world and is second only to Mandarin. Even in francophone countries, English language is still spoken and sometimes written as an acceptable medium of communication.
Another strength of the English language is the fact that it is the primary language of business throughout the world. Contracts, agreements, e- mails, reports, memos and other business related documents are mostly written in English language.
In the global entertainment industry it is unarguable that most of the songs and Hollywood movies are in English and hence anyone with an acceptable level of proficiency in the English language is at an advantage.
The ability to speak English language in addition to your mother tongue gives one an added advantage in a job search.
Many of the computer software available to players in the computer industry are written in the English language and though some are also compiled in different internationally recognized languages, an understanding of the English language will be of essence in modern science and technology.
English is a flexible language which adopts words from different origins hence it is much easier for people of other language backgrounds including French, German, Latin and Greek to relate to the language.
In the face of these strengths or advantages ascribed to the English language, there are a few weaknesses as well.
The English language may be difficult to learn especially to people for whom it is being thought as a second language. This is due to the fact that English has a rigid structure and may have different meanings for the same word. For example “sky” and “heaven” may cause one to look upward and though justifiable so, may mean other things which may be confusing to the learner of the English language.
Also the fact that there is a difference between English language as spoken by the English and that spoken by Americans among others constitutes a weakness of the language. What may be correct to the American may not be correct to the Scott for instance.
English has also been adulterated in many forms by different people the world over. There are many different types of pigeon English all over the world especially in Nigeria, Ghana etc. Jamaican folks have an adulterated version of the language referred to popularly as “patoa”. All these make the learning and correct use of the language a daunting and highly challenging task. Many people in places where such adulterated English language is utilized, literacy goes down and though people may be able to express themselves in the pidginised version of the English language, they are often unable to write it.
There are many opportunities that accompany one’s ability to use the English language proficiently. In stating the advantages, it was made clear that employment opportunities are available more readily for people who are able to express themselves in the English language aside their mother tongue.
The world is now considered a global village and English language arguably could be considered the language of the global village.
Consequently, in order to succeed in whichever industry one chooses, English language is a prerequisite. Most of the world’s literature is available in English language.
A speaker of the English language can travel all over the world and stay almost anywhere in the world because of the widespread use of English language.
In world politics, English language plays a centre stage role such that irrespective of one’s language, the ability to speak and write the English language is a major requirement for qualification for many positions. An example could be cited of the United Nations Organisation, Africa Union, and other diplomatic missions.
Lately, many countries including China, France, Italy, Germany and others are making major strides in their efforts to promote their languages. Many scholarships are offered to students from all over the world to study in such countries in an attempt to get them to learn the language.
French, German and Chinese are now being studied in many countries. This is a major threat to the universality of the English language.
Countries like China and Germany are writing software in their languages. They encourage their people to speak their languages everywhere in the world. The more these advancements continue, the less popular the English language would become.
The use of pidgin English in some parts of the world is also a threat to the advancement of the English language. When people become comfortable with the use of pidgin English they may not find the need to learn the correct grammar of the English language. This is also a threat to the English language as the number of people proficient in the use of the language continues to drop over time.
Differences in American and British versions of the English language is also a threat to the survival and growth of the language and a matter of confusion to many learners of the English language.