English is an Indo-European language of the Germanic language family. The history of the English language is vast, with many influences over the last few thousand years. The English language is one of the languages in the world that has embraced these influences, and as such there are hundreds of languages that have contributed to the formation of the English language.
Germanic settlers brought the first origins of the English language with them in the 5th century, which came from the Angle and the Saxon tribes. In the 8th and 9th centuries, there were Viking invasions, which further influenced the language, as did the Norman conquest of England two centuries later. With a high level of immigration that has been in effect for the past thousand years, it is not surprising that the English language has developed the very broad lexicon that is has.
Of course, it is not only other cultures that have influenced the English language. The British Empire, which ruled for centuries many countries all over the world, included India, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, among tens of other countries at the height of its power. This meant that for many years there were several dialects of English, as the English people tried to impose their language on the cultures that they had invaded and taken over. As a result there are now several creoles and “pidgin” languages all over the world, which have a combination of English and whichever language is native to the area.
The English language is spoken all over the world. It is difficult to exactly count how many people precisely speak this language, as not all countries that use the language take census data. It is also used in many countries when sellers wish to attract English-speaking customers. There is no denying that the English language is being spoken, but whether it is being understood and used fluently is hard to gauge.
Regardless of this, we can be sure that the total of people who have English as their first language is at least 300 million, potentially reaching a total of around 400 million. As a second language, however, is where the English language is the most popular, with over 200 million speakers of English as a second language. It is estimated by some linguists that this total is actually in the region of around 1.8 billion, due to the English language being taught in many Asian schools, as well as being something of a lingua franca of the world.
Officially, the English language is a language for the United Nations, the European Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, CoE, NATO, NAFTA, OAS, OIC, PIF, and UKUSA. However, even this impressive list is dwarfed by the amount of countries which keep the English language as an official language. These countries include Antigua, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cameroon, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as many others.
Bear in mind that these are not simply countries which have an English-speaking community, as there are many more of those, but that list is only of countries which use the English language officially. The U.S. and Australia, for example, do not officially have a main language of use, yet the vast majority of their populations are English speakers.
The Latin alphabet is used for the English language on account of the heavy religious influences to the country. The Latin language was used by the Christian Church, as well as by European intellectuals, and made it an excellent tool to communicate with, though up until the last six hundred years, this was not used for much outside of rule and religion, as the common people could not ordinarily read or write.
The language itself is also a very complex one. It is not tonal, it follows very strict but often nonsensical grammatical rules, it is not a phonetic language, and along with a very wide lexicon, the English language also has many very different dialects around the world, and many of these dialects cannot be understood by learners of the English language as a second language. For this reason, it is just as important to focus heavily on the grammar of the English language as it is to focus on the vocabulary.
Why Learn The English Language?
The English language is one of the most useful languages to learn in the world. Whether you are considering taking your business to other countries or looking to learn a language that can be used in many countries, the English language is surely one of the most popular options. While there are more speakers of the Mandarin Chinese and Spanish languages, the English language is the one that has spread the furthest over the world.
There are simply huge amounts of literature and writing in the English language. It is also the standard language for world communication, especially in the fields of science, business, information technology and economy. Besides being an incredibly useful language to learn for business, the English language also opens the speaker up to a massive amount of culture, such as cinema, theatre, and music. Learning the English language will enable you to travel the world over, and be understood by the local people who live there, enriching your travelling experience.