Since the beginning of the 17th century the English language had started to spread throughout the world. It began during the times of the British Empire, which was at the time one of, if not the vastest in the world. In the colonies of this Empire, the British people who were taking over would teach or rather impose their Language and culture on the natives. Because of this more and more natives living under the regime of the British Empire began to speak English, most of the time as a second language, thus gradually increasing the amount of English speakers in the world. The British ruled over these colonies for a couple of centuries so it became custom for all of the natives to speak the language without exception. Even after the fall of the British Empire during the 20th century the natives continued to speak English (for example in India and in the Caribbean). This is the historical reason why English is so broadly spread throughout the world. But during the 20th century other factors contributed to English becoming a world language. One of these factors was the huge development of technology. It has indeed been an essential element as to the increasing number of foreign countries adopting English as a second language.
Although the first silent film was created by a Frenchman named Louis Jean Lumiere (Herbert, S Who's who of Victorian Cinema 1996), it wasn't until slightly later on in the 1920's that the film industry really blossomed, as silent movies were being created by English speakers (mostly in America) they were a huge success, and a fascinating novelty that people didn't hesitate to spend money on. Some of today's cult movies were silent, and a lot of them starred an English actor that is known worldwide, this man was Charlie Chaplin. Innovations in sound led to the first commercial screening of short motion pictures which took place in New York City in April 1923 (FilmSound.Org). These developments only lead to a greater success in the film industry which increased the amount of people who went to the movies, nowadays most of the big budget films are all in English and are shown worldwide either with subtitles or dubbed. This industry has become one of the biggest earning one's in the world and English speaking actors are role models for people all over the world. This worldwide renown has made non- English speakers eager to learn the language to be able to understand films and other things exported from the English speaking countries such as series which are a huge success nowadays. Alongside the film industry the 20th century also saw the huge rise in the music industry with the creation of a diverse range of genres such as Jazz, Blues and Rock n' Roll. Most of the famous Rock' n Roll songs were all in English and sung by people such as Elvis Presley and The Beatles two huge names in that genre, and all Anglophones. The fact that all of the mainstream films and music are in English and are shown and heard all over the world, helps the language to spread globally. It is a fact that films in other languages don't have quite the same success as the ones in English. Some Anglophone television channels are broadcasted throughout the world such as the BBC, and Sky News. Even the originally Arabic television channel Al Jazeera has created a channel in English. The invention of satellite television also made it easier to export Anglophone programmes abroad, people can watch a great number of channels that are in English wherever they are if they own the appropriate satellite box. Foreign satellite boxes also give you the choice of watching the programme either dubbed or in its original language (as Anglophone series are often dubbed) , thus making it possible for people to pick up on Basic English whilst watching television programmes.
The radio was invented by and Italian man called Guglielmo Marconi, by 1899 he managed so send the first wireless signal across the English Channel (About.com: Inventors 2010). This was one of the biggest technologic breakthroughs of the end of the 19th century. The radio soon became one of the main sources of home entertainment and continued to be for over 50 years, it still is today for some families who cannot afford televisions. There are numerous shows broadcasted on the radio, from music, to news, to story readings and a great majority of these shows are in English. As David Crystal said 'if we look at broadcasting aimed specifically at audiences in other countries (such as the BBC World Service, of the Voice of America), we note significant levels provision ' over a thousand hours a week...' Crystal, D (1999) thus reflecting the huge influence of Anglophone broadcasting. The BBC world service is available in most countries in the world; the English language service broadcasts 24hours a day and has gained its place as one of the most respected international broadcasters, listened to everyday by millions of people throughout the world. Sometimes it is even the only source of information like in some places in Africa where they even invented wind-up radios so the people could hear the news. It is the world's leading international broadcaster and it provides programmes and content for radio in English mostly and in many other languages. (BBC World service Website).
Another major contributor to the spread of the English language, if not the biggest is the Internet. Invented by Anglophones, the Internet is the biggest medium of communication nowadays, with a vast amount of users worldwide. Approximately 80% of the content on the Internet is in English, thus to understand most of the online data one must know Basic English. The Internet is gradually making its way into homes all over the world, mostly in America and Europe but it has also made its way into Countries such as China and Japan. It is becoming one of the biggest phenomena's ever. Most homes nowadays have an Internet connexion, and people who cannot afford it often visit one of many Internet caf's available to them. In Africa people access the internet with their mobile phones due to the fact that landlines are hard to install there. (Wray, R 2009) Everyone is starting to use the Internet as it is easy access to most of the world's knowledge. You can find almost anything on the Internet and with the great majority of its contents being in English this helps import it throughout the world. This encourages people to learn English in order to be able to understand what they are reading. People can even learn English or use translators online for free. People may access the Internet by using either a computer or a mobile phone. Most western homes have computers nowadays, and a lot of jobs involve using a computer, which was also created by Anglophones. Due to this most computer programming and networking is in English, so people who do jobs that involve these things require a very good level in the language.
English has also become utilized in naval code as it is the language used worldwide to translate it from the original Navajo code.(Navy & Marine Corps WWII Commemorative Committee) It is also the language used by aeroplane pilots to communicate with one another and with the control towers in order to schedule landings.
All in all technology has become used all over the world, in many different ways. It has come into a lot people's lives through the internet, the radio, and the television. It is even used in most jobs (e.g. computers). The fact that most of the technology we use nowadays has been created by Anglophones and has been continued to be made in English means that the language has entered people's homes all over the world just as much as the technology itself. This has helped make English one of the most spoken languages in the world (most of the time as a second language). It is taught in schools all over and it is gradually being adopted as a second language in most countries. As David Crystal said 'There are no precedents, because no other language has ever been spoken by so many people in so many countries before' Crystal, D (1999). It has gained its status as a world language, because as it is spoken by so many people. We can definitely say that the development of technology in the 20th century has made it a lot easier to learn English either through the internet of by listening to a CD even. With progress being made in technology every day we can ask ourselves if due to this English will eventually be present everywhere?