Learning Academic English

English as a global language

English is the most important language in today’s global society. It is the most widely spoken, with estimates suggesting 1.75 billion people, a quarter of the world’s population, speak it. With over 60 countries listing English as its official language, it is essential in navigating through this increasingly global society.

In today’s global economy, core industries are governed or conducted in English, these include:

  • Business and trade
  • Tourism and entertainment
  • Diplomacy
  • Aviation and seafaring
  • Law
  • Media
  • Computing and the internet – more than 50% of all content is in English
  • Academia – 80% of academic publishing is in English

For business and trade, it is important to have a common language in which to build understanding and trust to broker deals and create growth.

The same principle is true for diplomacy and international relations. Former German president Joachim Gauck called for a “workable English for all of life’s situations” to enhance European integration as a response to poor communication across the continent.

Academic English

Learning academic English is much different and more complex than normal English, but it is nonetheless important for internationally recognised academic achievement. As already mentioned, English is the main language in academia, accounting for 80% of published academic work.

By learning academic English, you will not only develop your broader knowledge but also learn how to write in an academic style, critically evaluate texts, confidently engage with academic texts and improve your listening and speaking skills.

These critical skills are necessary for you to properly understand and engage with academic texts and discuss and debate the key arguments, providing you with the ability to participate fully in academic study.

Academic reading and writing

It should come as no surprise that as a student you are expected to write essays, reports and other written assignments. Through developing your academic writing style, you will be able to evaluate existing arguments and theories in your subject whilst presenting your own argument. Firstly, though, you will need to engage with academic sources to build your arguments and so developing your academic reading skills is crucial.

Listening and speaking

When developing your academic and listening skills you will learn how to take notes and extract the information you need from classroom teaching and academic sources sensibly and efficiently. Furthermore, you will develop your academic speaking skills to effectively communicate, debate and present academic arguments.

Language development

To successfully engage in class, you will need to develop an advanced vocabulary range and build your knowledge of grammar. Through language development you will need to enhance your writing skills by applying things such as prefixes and synonyms, your verbal skills will also improve as you are able to provide better spoken responses.

According to a 2014 Oxford University report, the teaching of English around the world is on the increase, and as the Harvard Business Review states, English remains a top priority for the world’s fastest-growing markets as it is a common language international companies use to communicate. In light of this, the demand for English language proficiency remains high for employers and is vital in taking advantage of new opportunities in this interconnected world and realising your potential.

Northumbria University provides a comprehensive pathway programme, English for University Studies, which enables you to enter a pathway programme leading to either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, depending on your academic qualifications. Through an intense programme, you will gain the academic English skills necessary to confidently engage in academic studies here in the UK.

To find out more information on the course and what pathway you can take, please click here.

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