English is spoken as a first language by the majority populations of several sovereign states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean nations; and it is an official language of almost 60 sovereign states. It is also widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many world organizations.
Facts About the English Language
- More English words begin with the letter “s” than with any other letter.
- The word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha, bēta.
- The dot over the letter “i” and the letter “j” is called a “superscript dot”.
- We can find 10 words in the 7-letter word “therein” without rearranging any of its letters: the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.
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About the English Language
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now the most widely used language in the world. It is the third-most-common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
Modern English, sometimes described as the first global lingua franca, is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications, science, information technology, business, seafaring, aviation, entertainment, radio, and diplomacy. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire, and by the late 19th century its reach was global. Following British colonization from the 16th to 19th centuries, it became the dominant language in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The growing economic and cultural influence of the US and its status as a global superpower since World War II have significantly accelerated the spread of the language across the planet.
History of the English Language
English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now southeast Scotland. Following the extensive influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 17th to mid-20th centuries through the British Empire, it has been widely propagated around the world.
Historically, English originated from the fusion of closely related dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic settlers (Anglo-Saxons) by the 5th century; the word English is derived from the name of the Angles, and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). The language was also influenced early on by the Old Norse language through Viking invasions in the 9th and 10th centuries.