English is so widespread and frequently used in today’s world that it is often referred to as the global or world language. English is the main language of books, newspapers, academic conferences, science, technology, international business and medicine and has official or special status in over 70 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific (Crystal, 1987, p. 358; 1997, p. 3). Although there are no exact figures, recent estimates say over one billion people speak English as their first, second or other language (McArthur, 2002, p. 2).
Because of its prominent role in the world, knowledge of English is useful in virtually any field and any occupation. Studying English will also help you learn about the cultures of English-speaking societies and communicate with people in many parts of the world.