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The term privilege refers to the ability of having more power, or opportunity to access additional things in life. In this definition, the word ‘more’ can be substituted with ‘better’. This means that a person who is privileged is in a better position to enjoy good health, healthcare, employment, housing, attention, wealth and recognition among others. Besides, the privilege also connotes that idea that, people think what they have in “normal.” Therefore, when other people do not mirror other people’s achievement as normal, then they are considered to live outside the normal spectrum of reality (Levine 278).
The ability to speak the English language is considered as a privilege. This is because it is the number one spoken language by a majority of people all over the world. Therefore, knowledge of written and spoken English language comes as an automatic privilege for any person because it makes it easy to communicate in any part of the world. As a result, English is regarded as a privilege in many realms of life.
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Types of Privilege
In most conversations, the term privilege has been used to refer to certain factors in a person’s life, which are not chosen by innate. Levine (213) observes that these factors are crucial because they define and determine their relationship with other people and the world. However, the concept of privilege is a complex issue because people do not choose they type of privileges that need to enjoy. For instance, people do not have the privilege of choosing their parents, race or country where they are born. Further, people do not choose their financial status, gender or sexual orientation. Therefore, these are privileges that are not innate but come along the life of a person through co-existence with other people.
Other Types of Privileges
Privileges come in many forms such as sex, gender, ethnicity, class, income levels and profession among others. For instance, being a male is considered a privilege because women face many challenges and barriers in life, such as sexual harassment, discrimination and are regarded as a minority. In some countries, being a white is considered as a privilege because white tend to face lesser challenges, such as oppression, equality and access to essentials in life.
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The right to citizenship is also regarded as a privilege because it assures a person of their nationality. When a person has citizenship of a certain country, it makes it easy to find employment, access to social security, healthcare and few barriers. Besides, it eliminates the aspect of being an alien or illegal immigrant.
For example, people who have been normal and have enjoy excellent physical health all their lives do not know what it means to be disabled. Therefore, it is suffice t say that able bodied people have a privilege, which the disabled people have never enjoyed, and they do not understand what disability feels like. However, it is vital to understand that most aspects of privilege are inherent, and may be unseen in the life of a person (Ryuko 200).
All over the world, native English speakers tend to enjoy the privilege of communication, expression and co-existence. As opposed to other languages such as French, Swedish, Latin or Spanish, English enjoys “a superior standing because of its versatility” (Birch 115). People who know and learn to speak in English find it easy to exist in society because it is an international language used in virtually all countries. For instance, foreign students without the knowledge of English have to sort help form other people to proof read their assignments.
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English is considered as a privilege because it eliminates many barriers associated with communication. For instance, English learners are at a risk of being misunderstood or considered harsh, thus causing negative feedback from native speakers. Since English is an international language, native speakers are privileged because they do not need to use a lot of energy and cost to learn the language. Therefore, they have the flexibility of learning other language as a leisure activity. However, the non-English speakers are faced with an additional burden of learning the English language because it is a necessity, and a means of effective communication in other countries. Some examples English privileges include flexibility to communicate, clarity of expression and ability to learn other languages with ease (Birch 145).
According to Ryuko (78) native English speakers have the following linguistic privileges:
- Native English speakers find it easy to express themselves; thus they use less energy and attract positive feedback.
- Native English speakers do not have the worry of not being clearly understood at work, school, and college or on social circles. Therefore, they find it easy to use the social community, interaction networks, blogs and social media.
- They are confident of using their native language, and interact freely using their native culture. They do not shy away and are not secretive or suspicious of communicating.
- English is the most spoken language in almost all countries in the world. Therefore, native speakers have the privilege of leaning a second language with ease.
- Native speakers can take any job interview with ease, without worrying about their accent or lack of expression to be hired.
- Unlike other English learners, native speakers have the privilege of better understanding and comprehension of school work and attaining better grades.
In conclusion, it is fundamental to say that the ability to speak the English language is a privilege. Just like other privileges, English is an international language, which is essential, and a privilege that cannot be overlooked. Native speakers are advantaged because they have ease of communication and confidence of interacting with numerous people around the globe.
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