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Statements of Excellence in English Language Literature & Education

I applaud the rise of English as a global language simply because we are in need of one most desperately. Having one language that is recognized as a primary, international language helps to unify us a global or planetary society. Since English is so widely spoken nowadays, many non-native speakers have found that they've been required to learn it to stay in business. English has approximately 375 million native speakers, born in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries. However, it has been estimated that there are over a billion non-native speakers of English.

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English as a Global Language

Today, English is widespread largely due to the fact that it is used so heavily in television, film and music. Hollywood's global spread has contributed strongly to the international popularity of English. It is also the predominant language on the Internet. Web pages in other languages often tend to have an English translation. The British Empire and the dominant nature of American popular culture have contributed overall to the spread of English across the planet.

There are still significant language barriers between people of different countries. If more people learn English, and come to speak it fluently, these barriers could be broken down. A person in Holland would not need to learn Chinese in order to communicate with his friends in China. Instead, he could use English as a neutral language. Then, if he wished to learn Chinese for his own purposes, he could do so at his leisure, rather than being forced to learn it in a crash course just to be able to communicate with his friend.

Some people mistakenly think that English is a Romance language. It is rather a Germanic language which was heavily influenced by the Normans upon their conquest of England in 1066. The Normans eventually went on to become the French. The early Britons adopted many of the Norman word roots, which has resulted in many similarities between French and English today.

One important argument in favor of English as a global language is its effectiveness. Chinese has more native speakers, however, it also has simplistic grammar, and it lacks articles, prepositions, verb conjugation and tense, singularity and plurality of nouns making it less effective than English at expressing complex meanings. It is also tonal, which limits the speaker's use of tone for emotional and conceptual expression. Furthermore most Westerners find the Chinese writing system difficult to grasp, whereas the Chinese and other groups tend to learn the Roman alphabet easily. The Roman alphabet is already the most widely used alphabet in the world today, and is shared by many disparate and seemingly unrelated languages, such as English (which has Germanic and French roots) and Spanish (which derives from the Vulgar Latin.) Since the Roman alphabet is phonetic (representing sounds) rather than character based (representing concepts) it is a more effective method of describing the actual sounds of words and phrases. The primarily difficulty with learning English is getting over irregularities.For example, the "gh" in through and laugh representing no sound and f respectively, whereas "g" alone can represent the hard "g" in get or the soft "g" in George, and "h" alone can represent the aspirated sound in hat or no sound at all as in honor. Unfortunately, the only solution to this problem is memorization and practice.

Great English Female Authors

The Heroines of English Language and Literature

The heroines of literature have been portrayed in all their glory throughout the ages. Here are our favorites!

Princess Cimorene, Dealing with Dragons Series

The fictional lady hero Princess Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons is the first on our list here. She’s one of our favorites. Dealing with Dragon, for those of you who never had the privilege of reading it, is the first in a magical and funny and rad four-book fantasy series by Patricia C. Wrede.

Cimorene is a total BAMF who a) runs away from her parents when they try to make her marry a dopey prince, b) gets a job and moves into a cave with a delightfully sassy talking dragon, c) refuses to be rescued, d) makes friends with a cool witch, and e) ends up saving the day.

Basically, Cimorene is smart and hot and very capable. What’s great is that she knows it; she’s not some fainting ingenue who has to be convinced of her own virtue. She’s ready to take charge from page one.

Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre

This was one of the earliest representations of an individualistic, passionate and complex female character. Jane Eyre knocks our socks off. Though she suffers greatly, she always relies on herself to get back on her feet. She’s no wilting damsel in distress, no no.

China Miéville wrote, “Charlotte Brontë’s heroine towers over those around her, morally, intellectually and aesthetically; she’s completely admirable and compelling. Never camp, despite her Gothic surrounds, she takes a scalpel to the skin of the every day.”

Kristy Thomas, The Babysitters Club Series

Kristy Thomas, from The Baby-Sitters Club, was smart and a great leader. She had some great ideas, but she’s also bossy and loud. We admire her because of how she dealt with her dysfunctional family, her tomboyish nature and her sense of humor.

Melba Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry

We slipped in Melba Beals here, but the book Warriors Don’t Cry is actually non-fiction. In fact, it’s the memoir of Melba Patillo Beals, who was one of the Little Rock Nine.

It details what it was actually like as one of the first black kids to integrate the Arkansas school system. Melba describes having acid thrown in her face, losing friends who were scared to associate with her, and the terror of having to be escorted to school every day by guards who she didn’t know if she could trust.

The title alone is powerful. You’ll feel empowered and grateful for her sacrifice after reading this great book.

Hermione Granger, the Harry Potter series

In the Harry Potter books, Hermione starts as an insufferable know-it-all. But she blossoms into a whip-smart beauty who doesn’t suffer fools (except Ron). She ends up as the glue that holds the whole operation together.

Hermione’s steadfastness and intelligence (plus the fact that she’s the only one who has ever read Hogwarts: A History) save her two best friends time and time again. She’s the only one of the three never to wholly break down in a crisis.

Intelligence often translates into strength, but only when wielded by a steady hand — and Hermione just happens to have both, as well as great compassion.

The Wife of Bath, The Canterbury Tales

Chaucer didn’t mean to make the Wife of Bath as big of a character as he did—it was a happy accident.

Early drafts show that her role was meant to be much smaller and more one-dimensional. But somewhere along the line, Chaucer became enamored of his female creation. He eventually made her prologue twice as long as her tale.

The Wife of Bath is lewd and lascivious — but behind all the dirty jokes, she’s making an argument for female dominance and a woman’s right to control her body, using her considerable rhetorical skill to simultaneously underscore and attack the anti-feminist traditions of that time. This is some awesome 14th century literature.

Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter

Though Hester Prynne, condemned by her Puritan neighbors for having a child out of wedlock, is sometimes seen as a victim, she manages to survive with dignity and faith throughout this work. 

She has been described as being “among the first and most important female protagonists in American literature. She’s the embodiment of deep contradictions: bad and beautiful, holy and sinful, conventional and radical… [she] can be seen as Hawthorne’s literary contemplation of what happens when women break cultural bounds and gain personal power.”

Jo March, Little Women

Jo from Little Women is smart, impulsive, argumentative, and willing to do anything for her family. Even cut all of her hair off to raise some cash! And obviously, she’s a writer, so that’s awesome. Casting Winona Ryder in the part was just the icing on the cake, don´t you think?

Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lisbeth has one of the fiercest moral codes seen in books or film. She lives by her own rules and sticks to what she believes in; she’s flawed but uses it to push herself to be who she wants to be (not who others want her to be). She understands herself in a way very few people do, and she isn’t afraid to take charge and is the definition of “BOSS not bossy.”

This powerful female protagonist of the hour is also one of the strongest women on this list. A world class computer hacker with a photographic memory, she’s also the survivor of an abusive childhood, making her a fiercely anti-social heroine with a violent streak.

Characterized by many as a “feminist avenging angel,” Lisbeth’s brutality is nothing to aspire to — but she certainly gets the job done.

Éowyn, The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Tolkien’s novels aren’t exactly known for their female protagonists, but who could be more powerful than the woman who killed the Witch-king of Angmar?

A shieldmaiden who is itching to defend her countrymen from the first minute we see her, Éowyn disguises herself as a man to follow her friends into battle.

Bad guys should be careful making statements like “No living man can kill me” when they’re fighting females.

Lyra Silvertongue, His Dark Materials trilogy

Not only is she the instrumental piece in a literally cosmic war, the unruly and headstrong Lyra, who is twelve years old at the beginning of the trilogy, can do something no one else can: read the alethiometer. It tells her the truth of the present and future.

She wins the hearts of those around her through her strong convictions, and earns the name “Silvertongue” after using her wits to fool the unfoolable—after all, words are the most powerful weapons of all, right?

Writing is an art, a craft, and has the power to change the world. Are you a writer? Have you created powerful, unique and inspiring women in your work? 

Favorite Female Friendships in Literature.