English: An International Language

The Head Heeb talks about the profusion of English language media all over the world. English definitely has become the international language. It definitely has something to do with the British empire. In Pakistan, English is an official language and English language newspapers have been around since the 1940s. Schools in Pakistan have either Urdu or English (probably also Sindhi in the province of Sindh) as the medium of instruction. Even the Urdu medium schools teach English as a language from the 6th grade onwards. Most university education, especially in the sciences, is in English. Here are some of the English language newspapers of Pakistan:

Dawn: The largest circulation and the most respected English daily
The News: The English counterpart of the largest Urdu newspaper Jang (War)
The Nation: A conservative newspaper
Millat: A nationalistic tabloid
Business Recorder: A business and financial newspaper
Frontier Post: A newspaper from Peshawar, NWFP

The rise of the United States as a superpower and global reach of Hollywood movies has also affected the status of English around the world. Even though British English (or rather its South Asian dialect) is taught in schools in Pakistan, American English is having more of an impact now.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. Cool – I already link to Dawn, and I’ll add the other five later. It seems, BTW, that the spread of English is in its second generation; the British Empire brought the language to the Indian subcontinent, and the Indian and Pakistani diasporas are now bringing it to the Gulf states.

  2. I believe you are right about the Gulf states and the South Asian community there. But the Gulf states were under effective British rule until 1960s (?). What was the status of English there at the time?

  3. I lived in the Gulf for a few years (well, four) in the late-eighties and early nineties.

    Between Filipinos, Pakistanis, Indians, and American and Europeans, English was the norm. But among Arabs, Arabic was more widely spoken.

    I think that absent the non-Arab labourers, the Gulf would be as Arabic as Egypt is now. In Cairo, despite a century or so of British Domination, Arabic is the main language of communication, to the extent that its quite difficult for a non-arabic speaker to easily get around the non-tourist areas. This is not the case in the Gulf, where every taxi driver speaks some English.

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