Why English Is The Language Of Science
Over the last few years, the use of the English language in scientific research papers has become more and more prevalent. According to Why English Matters, 98% of scientific articles published today are in English. And this alone is a key reason to why skilled English is so essential when building a career in Science.
English is now considered a global language, with approximately 400 million native speakers. Not only are there this amount of native speakers, but over a million more speak the language as a second or foreign language. It is due to this that English is now considered the language of science.
The Impact of World War Two on Science
English hasn't always been the most common language in science and research. A little over 100 years ago, at the start of the 20th century, the dominant language for science was indeed German. And even before that, Latin.
In the past, it was not uncommon for scientists and researchers to publish their work in both their native language and Latin. This was back in the times when Latin was a globally recognised language. There has historically been a much wider variety surrounding language in science than there is today. Most journals and papers are now solely published in English.
Pri.org credits the decline in the German dominance over science to the events of the first world war. During and after the war there was a boycott of German scientists and research by the British and French.
There was a general anti-German sentiment (not helped by anti-German laws in the US) atmosphere at the time. This pushed the German language out of the scientific community. Even in the years after the laws and boycotts, the German language still didn't reclaim its place. This is mainly down to the fact that there was a new generation of scientists was no longer exposed to German scientific writing. By then English and French had become more common in scientific research.
The growing influence of the US in science also helped strengthen the use of the English Language and push out French. Therefore leaving English as the most used language in scientific research.
The Global Spread of The English Language
Another reason why English as a language is so dominant in science and technology is British colonialism. As the saying goes, 'The sun never sets on the British Empire'. And this was in many ways correct. In the early 1920's, the British Empire had consumed a quarter of the world's total land mass and a fifth of its population. This has made the English language one of the world's most spoken languages
British colonialism is one of the more significant reasons to the spreading of the English language. Especially in the early 20th century. Taking this into account, it is not surprising the English language began to dominate the sciences as well.
So Why Learn English?
Learning the English language is almost essential for anyone considering a career in STEM. In order to have globally recognised work, English is an often deemed a necessity.
Korean researcher Kumju Hwang has said
"The reason that [non-native English-speaking scientists] have to use English, at a cost of extra time and effort, is closely related to their continued efforts to be recognised as having internationally compatible quality and to gain the highest possible reputation."
And he is right. Although it takes a lot more effort, learning English really does pay off. There are an estimated 1.5 billion English speakers in the world today, that could be your potential audience. Publishing scientific research in English will help it become globally recognised.
But English is not only essential for publishing work. Learning English will help you in terms of doing your own academic research. Being able to confidently communicate in English allows you to learn from other researchers. 98% of scientific research papers published online are in English. You would be doing yourself a disadvantage by not learning such a prevalent language in this field.
In order to keep up with fellow scientists and to be able to see your work reach a global audience, English in a must.
For further information about Harrow House International College - or any of our English courses - please visit www.harrowhouse.com.