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Togo is a French speaking country. But then, why is English important for Togolese people to learn?

English is a global language

English is spoken all over the world. It is the world lingua franca. It is estimated that there are 380 million native speakers and 300 million that utilize English as a second language and 100 million who use it as a foreign language. It is also estimated that the number of people in the world that use in English to communicate on a regular basis is 2 billion!

Advances in information technology, scientific knowledge and applications have transformed our world into a global village. People from various cultures and nationalities now meet, interact, trade, and socialize with ease on a daily basis. The language people mostly use to communicate is English. In the era of globalization, English has become a worldwide language, that is to say, a passport.

English is the N°1 language of international communication. All international communications are carried out in English. International organizations use English as their official language of communication, namely the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (UA).

English is a major language in various domains

In Education: A mastery of English helps you succeed in school and get scholarships. In Togo, English is part of the school subjects from Middle School to High School. Togolese students learn English as a Foreign Language in Secondary classes. As a Togolese secondary school student, you need grades in English in order to get a passing average at school and at national examinations.

When you get your High School Diploma and want to study at University, you also need grades in English, no matter what field of study you choose. As a matter of fact, ESP (English for Specific Purpose) has been taught for some years now in every Faculty and Department of the University of Lomé. If you are a student who wishes to further your University studies, English is mandatory for you because many great publications in every scientific domains are in English.

If you speak English, you canst and out when you apply for higher education in countries like USA, Canada and China. You can easily get scholarships to study in those countries. Fluency in English is a prerequisite for admission in their Universities where English is a language of instruction.

In the Job Market: After graduation, a person who speaks English has more chance to find a better job than someone who doesn’t, that is to say, he or she will stand out against a monolingual job candidate. Speaking English is a great asset for your professional career. You need to learn English if you want to work in international companies as well as in governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as Ecobank, US Embassy, Peace Corps, USAID (United States Agency for International Development), ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African Countries), AU (African Union), UN (United Nations) System, Plan International, Amnesty International, etc.

In Business: English is the language of business in the world. Great businessmen use English for international commerce and trade. A fundamental element of business is being able to sell a product. Selling your products in your own country Togo is good, but what happens when it comes to selling in a foreign market or in the global market? So if you want to succeed in and expand your business, you need to learn English whether you are, or your enterprise is in a native and non-native English-speaking country. When people who speak different languages have business meetings, the meetings are usually in English, so that everyone can participate.

In Travel and Tourism: If you want to travel to a foreign country but you don’t speak the local language, you can speak English to communicate and integrate with the local community. Even if you’re not going to an English speaking country, it is very likely that locals will understand you if you speak in English. At the airports all over the world you can hear English. For instance, information is written and spoken at Aéroport International Gnassingbé Eyadéma (AIGE) in Lomé. In hotels, information is written and spoken in English as well. So if you master English, you can travel everywhere in world and you will enjoy travelling more. You will feel comfortable in ordering food, understanding directions, being able to fully travel on public transport and save considerable money and maybe even batter for things in shops.

In Information Technology: In this digital age, 80% of computer data are processed and stored in English. Many computer programs, games, are made in English; so it is important for you to know this language so that you can understand and use them properly.

In the Media: World famous books, magazines, newspapers and journals are written in English. Many radio and TV stations also use English to broadcast information.

In Entertainment: Through English, you can discover entertainment from around the world. Many of the world’s top books, films and music are published and produced in English. If you know English, you can understand and enjoy them in their original form. Because a translation or dub is just not the same, as many elements of language simply can’t be translated literally from one language to another.

On the Internet: About 70% of websites are in English. If you learn English, you’ll be able to visit most websites. Most of the new words used for computers, new technology and the Internet are English: chat, pod cast, blog, spam, e-mail, hacker, mouse. The names of your favorite websites are often in English, YouTube, Google are just a few. Most of the information on the internet (around 50%) is in English. So if you have a command of English, you can access to an incredible amount of information and understand it.

In Relations: English is a language of international correspondence. With English you will make life-time friendships. You will make many friends and acquaintances from all over the world and widen your network.

Apart from the ones cited above, English plays a prominent role in many other domains.

Good news! What is more, English grammar is quite simple. English is not hard to learn, compared to many other foreign languages like French. And remember! Learning English takes time and dedication. For sure, studying a foreign language like English can change your life for the better.

Tarek Salaou

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