One of Italy's top ranking universities is switching to teaching in English for most of its degree courses.
You might be questioning why I think this is an important article. How does this impact e-learning, m-learning and technical communication? It impacts all of these GREATLY.
First of all, I need to state that I strongly believe there is no such thing as "International English". Which version of English is going to be used at this university? Most likely it will be British English, but it could also be American English, since the British and American versions are usually the most predominant versions over Indian English, South African English, Canadian English, and Australian English, as well as the many dialects within those versions as well. What does this move on the part of this Italian university say? The university rector argues that English has become the international language of business and the sciences. Why is that? when I was growing up (and again, I'm not THAT old), it was that both English and French were the languages of business, then Japanese and Spanish were added later. I also always heard that German was the language for the sciences--at least for engineering. What has changed in the world that English is taking over like this? My own theory is that much of the Internet is written in English, and most of the world's communications are conducted in English, so the rector's reasoning makes sense. Does the mean the end of Latin and Italian at this university? Perhaps. Does that mean the English language is taking over the world? Perhaps. Only time will tell. There are other languages that could also start taking stronger precedence in the world, such as Spanish, Chinese and Hindi as well.
What does this mean for technical communicators and those specialists in e-learning and m-learning? Greater emphasis will be needed in writing precisely for the audience at large. While there is no such thing as "International English", technical writers and instructional designers will need to make greater efforts to use more standardized language that previously done before.
This is really an excellent article, and I encourage my readers to read it in its entirety.