Brown pushes English as global language

Gordon Brown today launched a new campaign to make English the world’s “common language of choice”.

To facilitate Britain’s linguistic global dominance, the prime minister has launched an international ‘teach yourself English’ website.

Mr Brown said: “In total, two billion people worldwide will be learning English by 2020. But there are millions more on every continent who are still denied the chance to learn English.

“So today I want Britain to make a new gift to the world: a commitment to help anyone – however impoverished and however far away – to access the tools they need to learn English.”

Mr Brown hopes at least one billion more people will be offered the opportunity to learn English as a result of such resources.

Operated by the British Council, the website will establish a network of teachers and students with the aim people should be able to access one-to-one English tuition anywhere in the world.

The British Council also plans to recruit “master trainers” in India to develop the schools of 750,000 local English teachers over the next five years, with Mr Brown identifying the need to improve the number and skills of English teachers.

The prime minister is now en-route to a high-profile visit to China and India, after being delayed at Heathrow due to an emergency landing.

In a message recorded ahead of his trip, Mr Brown said: “The English language, like football and other sports, began here and has spread to every corner of the globe.

“It is becoming the world’s language. Indeed, English is much more than a language: it is a bridge across borders and cultures, a source of unity in a rapidly changing world.”

He concluded: “This is a great opportunity for Britain – and a measure of the greatness that lies not in empire or territory but through a language that has the power to bring this world of over 200 countries and billions of people closer together, with the versatility to evolve and adapt.

“We will take up with vigour the bold task of making our language the world’s common language of choice.”