As we journey into the new millennium, few among us would bother to argue against the
importance of English as a world language, especially considering its role in technology, industry,
and politics. Many people of the world are introduced to English as a modern version of a contact
language, since the need to know it occurs simultaneously with the need for specific knowledge
(to negotiate borders and so on). Of course, there is much to the story of language contact. As
Mary Louise Pratt (1992) observed, contact situations are often catastrophic events involving
power relations that include conquerors and the conquered, intermediaries, onlookers, and more.
The position of English as a national language in many countries and its worldwide influence have
occurred within the context of civil wars, political negotiation, constant transmigration,
globalization, and the formulation and reconstruction of nationalist ideologies and identities.
Though the nature of today's contact may seem benign, its result may still be catastrophic
and have far-reaching consequences, as the ideology and practices that accompany English may
not complement all societies and situations. Today, the United States often represents the global
influence of English, and as America becomes the symbol of border and civil war negotiation and
policing, technology, art, conflict and power, so too does English. Predictably, the people and
polities throughout the world wrestle with America's ideological influence by participating
in the invigoration and transformation of English to suit their needs.