THIS YEAR DIALOG/FLUENT RUSSIA CELEBRATES MOSCOW’S OWN ENGLISH LANGUAGE WEEK WITH OUR UNIQUE PROGRAM OF EVENTS:
Moscow Speaks English 2017.
A language that was the tongue of three tribes 1,500 years ago is today the language of nearly two billion people. It has three-times more non-native speakers than native speakers. No other language comes close to matching that, and that is what makes English global. It is the modern lingua franca, the language used by Russians to talk to Nigerians, the Germans to talk to Spanish, the Chinese to talk to Brazilians. English is found on every continent. It has major speech communities in over seventy countries. It is the language of the internet. It is language of air-traffic control, of international travel, and of international business. It is the language of science.
English comes in a huge variety forms across time from Old English through Middle English to Modern English and through space from Australian through Jamaican and Indian to Zimbabwean. It exists in a thousand dialects, slangs and street forms. It exists in two major written forms, American and British. Those forms are not materially different, and the uniformity of written English provides the world with a consistent and flexible mode of intercommunication.
The English language is not only the vehicle of our heritage; it is the greatest jewel in that heritage. If we celebrate the English language, we do not do so with any sense of its superiority to other languages spoken in Moscow (or elsewhere) but only to recognize that English is the one language that we all can have in common. It involves us all.
The English language is important to absolutely everyone in Russia. The author Salman Rushdie puts it best: “What seems to me to be happening is that those people who were once colonized by the English language are now rapidly remaking it, domesticating it, becoming more and more relaxed about the way they use it—assisted by the English language’s enormous flexibility and size, they are carving out large territories for themselves within its frontiers.”