English as a global language
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English as a global language
World Factbook, aided with Aneki, and the Guinness World Records English is currently the 2nd most commonly spoken language in the world. It has over 500 million speakers. It is behind only Mandarin, which has over 1 billion speakers. English is today the third most widely distributed language as a first spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and Hindi (see the ranking). Something around 600 million people use the various dialects of English regularly.
Flags of English-speaking countries
Anthems of English-speaking countries
|UK||God Save the Queen|
|USA||The Star Spangled Bunner|
|New Zealand||God Defend New Zealand|
About 377 million people use one of the versions of English as their mother tongue, and a similar number of people use one of them as their second or foreign language as well. English is used widely in either the public or private sphere in more than 100 countries all over the world. In addition, the language has occupied a prominent place in international academic and business communities.
The current status of the English language at the start of the new millennium compares with that of Latin in most of Western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire. English is also the most widely used language for young backpackers who travel across continents, regardless of whether it is their mother tongue or a secondary language.
Although the language is named after England, the United States now has more first-language English speakers than the rest of the world combined. The United Kingdom comes second, with England indeed having as many English speakers as the rest of the world combined (aside fr om the USA). Canada is third, and Australia fourth, with those four comprising 95% of native English speakers. Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language, India has the most such speakers ('Indian English') and now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country. Following India are the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, Germany and the United States (by way of immigrant communities and other enclaves in which English is necessary for communication with their English-speaking countrymen).
English is the primary language in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia (Australian English), the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, Canada (Canadian English), the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey, Guyana, Isle of Man, Jamaica (Jamaican English), Jersey, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand (New Zealand English), Ireland (Hiberno-English), Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom (various forms of British English), the U.S. Virgin Islands the United States (various forms of American English), and zimbabwe.
English is also an important minority language of South Africa (South African English), and in several other former colonies or current dependent territories of the United Kingdom and the United States, for example Hong Kong, Singapore, Mauritius, and the Philippines.In Asia, former British colonies like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia use English as either an official language or a de facto common language, and it is taught in all private and public schools as a mandatory subject.
The majority of English native speakers (67 to 70 per cent) live in the United States (Crystal, 1997). Although the U.S. Federal government has no official languages, English has been given official status by 27 of the 50 state governments, all but three of which (Hawaii, New Mexico and Louisiana) have declared English their sole official language.In many other countries, wh ere English is not a first language, it is an official language; these countries include Belize, Cameroon, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Ghana, Gambia, India, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
English is the most widely learned and used foreign language, and as such, some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural sign of 'native English speakers', but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. Others believe there are lim its to how well English can go in suiting everyone for communication purposes. English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union (by 89% of schoolchildren), followed by French (32%), German (18%), and Spanish (8%). It is also the most studied in the People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. English is also compulsory for most secondary school students in the PRC and Taiwan. See English as an additional language.
Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a "global language", the lingua franca of the modern era. While English is not an official language in many countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a second language around the world. It is also, by international treaty, the official language for aircraft/airport and maritime communication, as well as being one of the official languages of both the European Union and the United Nations, and of most international athletic organizations, including the Olympic Committee. Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. English is also the most commonly used language in the sciences. In 1997, the Science Citation Index reported that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries.