The future of English.
Have you ever wondered how many people there are who speak English?
It's quite a number!
Geographically, English is the most widespread language on earth, and it is second only to Chinese in the number of people who speak it. It is spoken in the British Isles, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and much of Canada and South Africa. That"s about 400 million people.
English is also a second language of another 300 million people living in more than 60 countries.
If you add to this the enormous number of people who learn to understand and speak English (like yourself), you will realise that English is indeed a "world language".
In Shakespeare's time only a few million people spoke English. All of them lived in what is now Great Britain.
Through the centuries, as a result of various historical events, English spread throughout the world. Five hundred years ago they didn't speak English in North America: the American Indians had their own languages. So did the Eskimos in Canada, the aborigines in Australia, and the Maoris in New Zealand. The English arrived and set up their colonies ...
Today, English is represented in every continent and in the three main oceans — the Atlantic, the Indian and the Pacific.
English is mixing with and marrying other languages around the world. It is probably the most insatiable borrower.
Words newly coined or in vogue in one language are very often added to English as well. There are words from 120 languages in its vocabulary, including Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.
Other languages absorb English words too, often giving them new forms and new meanings. So many Japanese, French and Germans mix English words with their mother tongues that the resulting hybrids are called Japlish, Franglais and Denglish. In Japanese, for example, there is a verb Makudonaru, to eat at McDonald's.
One of the many "Englishes" spoken and written today is Euro-English. Euro- English has its origins in the political arena of the European community.
A century ago, some linguists predicted that one day England, America, Australia and Canada would be speaking different languages. However, with the advent of records, cinema, radio, and television, the two brands of English have even begun to draw back together again.
Britons and Americans probably speak more alike today than they did 50 or 60 years ago. (In the 1930s and 1940s, for example, American films were dubbed in England. It's no longer the practice today).
People have long been interested in having one language that could be spoken throughout the world. Such a language would help to increase cultural and economic ties and simplify communication between people. Through the years, at least 600 universal languages have been proposed, including Esperanto. About 10 million people have learned Esperanto since its creation in 1887, but English, according to specialists, has better chances to become a global language. So why not learn it?

Last Updated (Friday, 19 February 2010 16:39)