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Lesson Transcript

Gabriella: Hello everyone. I’m your host Gabriella.
Gina: And I’m Gina. Top 5 Reasons to Study English.
Gabriella: With these All About lessons, we will give you some background and interesting information about the language you are studying.
Gina: We’ll also tell you about some of the culture of the UK, as understanding the background and the culture of the language you’re studying will make it easier and more enjoyable.
Gabriella: That’s right! Language is more than just some words being spoken, so we hope that you will enjoy these lessons, and that they will help you enjoy English.
Gina: I’m sure they will!
Gabriella: Let’s begin by speaking about the origins of English.
Gina: Are you ready for a history lesson?
Gabriella: I think so!
Gina: Okay! The original and native language of Britain was not the English of today, in fact, it wasn’t even related to English at all. It was originally a Celtic language and sounded very different to the Modern English which is a Germanic language.
Gabriella: What happened to change it so much?
Gina: During the Fifth century, Britain was invaded by three Germanic tribes and they brought their language with them. But, even that form of English, known as Old English, isn’t the same as the language we speak today although some words are still in use now.
Gabriella: Which words? Do you have some examples?
Gina: Words such as “water”, “beam” and “house” are either exactly the same or have roots in Old English.
Gabriella: Was the grammar the same?
Gina: No, the grammar in Old English was radically different and resembled Russian or Latin more than Modern English!
Gabriella: How did Old English develop into Modern English?
Gina: More history, and more invasions! In the Eleventh century the Normans invaded Britain and added a French influence to the language. In fact, for the higher classes French was their first language for a while before Middle English established itself.
Gabriella: Was Middle English the same as Modern English?
Gina: Not quite! There was a big shift in the pronunciation of vowels during this Middle English time so Middle English evolved quite substantially. The British Empire started to spread across the world and words of many different languages became a part of Middle English, which then turned it into Modern English.
Gabriella: This influence of many different languages is very important, isn’t it?
Gina: It is. It explains why there are so many different pronunciations of English words. English uses the Latin alphabet…
Gabriella: …also known as the Roman alphabet, the ABCs.
Gina: That’s right. So it will be very familiar to people from all over the world but the foreign influences mean that there are many different pronunciations of the same letters.
Gabriella: There are also many different variations of English, right?
Gina: English is the first language in more countries than just Britain. It’s also used in the US, Australia, Canada and many more, and every country has its own accent and dialects. Britain has many within itself – you can literally travel for a few miles and find that the locals will speak very differently!
Gabriella: That sounds difficult for learners! So, why should they learn English? Let’s hear the top five reasons for learning English.
Gina: I think the most important reason is what we were just speaking about – it’s the most commonly used language in the world and is the lingua franca. English is very commonly learnt as a second language, so even if you find yourself in a non-English speaking country with non-native speakers, you’re more likely to find someone who can speak English than any other language.
Gabriella: That’s right. I’ve travelled to many different countries, and whenever information is displayed or available in a language other than the language of that country, it’s always available in English.
Gina: Convenient, huh? Another reason is that English is the language of media.
Gabriella: Yeah, there are more movies and music in English than any other language. There are a lot of non-native English-speaking musicians who perform songs exclusively in English, for example.
Gina: English is also the language of the internet.
Gabriella: It is indeed. There is so much information available in English on the internet.
Gina: And so many cat photos with English captions!
Gabriella: Those too! So What is reason number 3?
Gina: Speaking English will help your career. Many businesses place a large emphasis on English, and this partially goes back to our first reason.
Gabriella: That English is the lingua franca?
Gina: That’s right. How else would a company in China communicate with companies in Germany or France, for example? It’s easier to use English than to learn several different languages.
Gabriella: An example of this in action is how one of the mobile phone companies in Japan, is offering bonuses to their staff for passing English exams.
Gina: They are? That’s interesting! There are a lot of specific businesses and trades that English is very important to. A lot of branches of science or computing, for example, use English terms as standard.
Gabriella: That’s true. What is the 4th reason?
Gina: The joy of reading! So many of the world’s best books have been written in English and although the translations are usually good, it’s not the same as reading Charles Dickens or Harry Potter as it was originally written!
Gabriella: There are so many good books that never get translated, or take a long time to be translated. I wouldn’t want to wait several months for the next book in a series I was reading.
Gina: Me neither! There is one reason left now, do you want to hear it?
Gabriella: Of course! I hope you saved the best reason for last!
Gina: I did! The best reason to learn English is to have fun! English shares so many words with practically every other language, that it means everyone starts off already knowing a few words. You can soon build on that, and hopefully enjoy yourself as you do so.
Gabriella: I think that people will find that English is far easier to pick up and understand than they think it is.
Gina: I think so too.
Gabriella: And of course, we’ll help you with your lessons!
Gina: We will!


Gina: Ok, everyone. I think that’s all for this lesson.
Gabriella: Thank you for listening, everyone. See you next time!