Segments in this Video

Global News Networks (03:16)


Proliferation of news broadcasts around the world via satellite creates a need for a more precise form of English. CNN's U.S. programming is very different in concept and scope from international broadcasts.

History of American English (02:31)

The use of English in America is the result of British colonial settlements at the end of the 17th century. A long debate about the official language of America ensued after the Declaration of Independence.

Linguistic Ghettos (04:13)

By the turn of the 20th century, millions of immigrants poured into America, most of whom could not speak English. They huddled into Lower East Side neighborhoods. The Henry Street Project continues to help newcomers.

New York's Ethnic Neighborhoods (05:34)

A New York City guide visits Chinatown and Little Italy. Public and private agencies accommodate people speaking many different languages. The English Speaking Union continues to bring together native and non-native English speakers.

English in South Africa (06:57)

South Africa has 11 separate languages, but "The Star" prints news in English. Black reporters who speak indigenous languages gather details that otherwise would not become known. This segment follows a black and a white reporter on the job.

English in South Africa (03:27)

English has been one of the official languages in South Africa for 100 years, and continues to be essential for economic growth and development, and national unity.

English and the European Union (02:32)

Europe's problem is similar to South Africa's. The EU is attempting to establish a political union out of nation states where linguistic traditions are deeply rooted. The pragmatic acceptance of English seems destined to continue in Europe.

Immigrants and American English (04:11)

More and more non-English speaking immigrants in America threaten to change the linguistic character of America. Some Americans see this as a threat to nationhood, and there is a strong movement to make English the official language.

America's Official Language (04:39)

First generation immigrants have a difficult time learning a new language and often find only blue-collar jobs with minimum wages as a result. The second generation usually assimilates well and learns English easily.

Languages of the World (03:58)

Of the thousands of languages in the world, ninety percent of them may become extinct within a century. Does English have insidious effects on many of the world's languages?

Native American Languages (03:10)

Three native tribes struggle to keep their native languages alive. Languages express native values, not only ideas and content. Young people want to learn from the elders, and many children learn their native languages in school.

Native American Languages (07:25)

Indians elders regret that children get so little exposure to their native languages. It should be taught every day in an attempt to create fluent speakers. Within a few years, there may be no fluent native speakers of indigenous languages.

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Politics: Will English Rule the World?

Part of the Series : Beyond Babel: English, the Language Rising from the Masses
DVD Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



Although members of the E.U. value its practicality and the African National Congress calls it indispensable, not everyone agrees that English should dominate the global dialogue. In this program, Thomas Patterson, of the Kennedy School of Government; Nicholas Ostler, of the Foundation for Endangered Languages; the president of CNN International; advocates and opponents of the English-only movement in America; and others debate the value of English as an international political language while coming to terms with the likely extinction of nondominant languages in America and abroad. Can diversity and identity be retained in a world of fewer languages? (54 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL29424

ISBN: 978-0-7365-7872-1

Copyright date: ©2001

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"[The program] provides a balanced view of the reality of increasing English dominance in international politics and the potential consequences it may have on the fate of minority languages in the world."—Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.