English is a widely distributed language originating in
is currently the primary language of a number of countries. It is extensively
used as a second language and as an official language in many other countries.
English is the most widely taught and understood language in the world, and
sometimes is described as a
lingua franca. Although Modern Standard Chinese has more mother-tongue
speakers (approximately 700 million) English is used by more people as a second
or foreign language, putting the total number of English-speakers worldwide at
well over one billion.
About 354 million people speak English as their first language. Estimates about
second language speakers of English vary greatly between 150 million and 1.5
billion. English is the dominant international language in communications,
science, business, aviation, entertainment, diplomacy and the Internet. It has
been one of the official languages of the United Nations since its founding in
1945. It is widely said that English is today's
English is a
West Germanic language that developed from
Old English, the language of the
Anglo-Saxons. English, having its major roots in Germanic languages, derives
most of its grammar from
English, although a
Celtic substratal influence has also been postulated.
As a result of the Norman Conquest, it has been heavily influenced, more than
any other Germanic language, by Norman French,
England it spread to the rest of the
British Isles, then to the colonies and territories of the
British Empire (outside and inside the current
Commonwealth of Nations) such as the
Zealand, and others, particularly those in the
Anglophone Caribbean. As a result of these historical developments English
is the official language (sometimes one of several) in many countries formerly
under British or American rule, such as Pakistan, Ghana, India, Nigeria, South
Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and the Philippines.
Mandarin Chinese and
Hindi have more
native speakers than English does; however, the geographic distribution of
Mandarin and Hindi, as both first and second languages, is more limited than
that of English. English also is the most widely spoken Germanic language.
English spread to many parts of the world through the expansion of the
British Empire, but did not acquire lingua franca status in the world until
the late 20th century, when American culture began to overpower that of others
on the global scale .
Following World War II, the economic and cultural influence of the United States
increased and English permeated other cultures, chiefly through development of
telecommunications technology. Because a working knowledge of English is
required in many fields, professions, and occupations, education ministries
throughout the world mandate the teaching of English to, at least, a basic level
English language learning and teaching).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia