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Popularity of English Language 
Published 2006/3/1
Article Rated: 2.00

English language is used in about 100 countries all around the world. An approximate 380 million people use English as their mother-tongue and a similar number of people use it as their second language. It has occupied a very important place in international academic and business communities. English has today become what Latin was to the world in the past.

English is the primary language in many countries like Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominica, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and United States. However, Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Cornish and Irish are also considered indigenous languages in the United Kingdom. English is a primary language of the Belize, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Malaysia & Singapore, the Philippines, Israel, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda along with their respective local languages. In most countries where English is not a first language, it is designated as official language; the countries include Cameroon, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Ghana, Gambia, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Malta, Marshall Islands, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Majority of native English speakers, about 70% of them reside in the United States. Out of the 50 states comprising the US, 27 have declared English as the official language. Hawaii, Louisiana, and New Mexico have also declared Hawaiian, French, and Spanish respectively as official languages along with.

The above proves that English is the most widely used language in the world and therefore ceased to be the cultural banner of native English speakers. English, as times goes on is absorbing the aspects of other worldwide cultures. English is studied as a foreign language by 33% of Europeans. It is also the most sought after in Japan, Korea and China.


Because English is so widely spoken, it has been referred to as a "global language." While English is not the official language in many countries, it is the language most often taught as a second language around the world. It is also, by international treaty, the official language for aircraft/airport communication. Its widespread acceptance as a first or second language is the main indication of its global status.

There are numerous arguments for and against English as a global language. On one hand, having a global language aids in communication and in pooling information (for example, in the scientific community). On the other hand, it excludes those who, for one reason or another, are not fluent. It can also marginalize populations whose first language is not the global language, and lead to a cultural hegemony of the populations speaking the global language as a first language. Most of these arguments hold for any candidate for a global language, though the last two counter-arguments don't hold for languages not belonging to any ethnic group (like Esperanto).

A secondary concern with respect to the spread of global languages (English, Spanish, etc.) is the resulting disappearance of minority languages, often along with the cultures and religions that are primarily transmitted in those languages. English has been implicated in a number of historical and ongoing so-called 'language deaths' and 'linguicides' around the world, many of which have also led to the loss of cultural heritage. In the Americas, Native American nations have been most strongly affected by this phenomenon.

Dialects and regional variants

English dialects
British Isles
English English
Highland English
Mid Ulster English
Scottish English
Welsh English
Irish English
United States
AAVE (Ebonics)
American English
California English
Hawaiian English
Southern American English
Spanglish/Chicano English
Canada
Canadian English
Newfoundland English
Quebec English
Oceania
Australian English
New Zealand English
Asia
Hong Kong English
Indian English
Malaysian English
Philippine English
Singaporean English
Sri Lankan English
Other countries
Bermudian English
Caribbean English
Jamaican English
Liberian English
Malawian English
South African English
Miscellaneous
Basic English
Commonwealth English
Globish
International English
Plain English
Simplified English
Special English
Standard English

The expansiveness of the British and the Americans has spread English throughout the globe. It is now the second- or third-most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese; whether English or Spanish has more native speakers depends on who is doing the counting and how they count. Due to its global spread, it has bred a variety of English dialects and English-based creoles and pidgins.

The major varieties of English in most cases contain several sub-varieties, such as Cockney within British English, Newfoundland English within Canadian English, and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") within American English. English is considered a pluricentric language, with no variety being clearly considered the only standard.

Some consider Scots as an English dialect. Pronunciation, grammar and lexis differ, sometimes substantially. The Scottish dialect retains many German aspects including guttural pronunciations.

Due to English's wide use as a second language, English speakers can have many different accents, which may identify the speaker's native dialect or language. For more distinctive characteristics of regional accents, see Regional accents of English speakers. For more distinctive characteristics of regional dialects, see List of dialects of the English language.

Many countries around the world have blended English words and phrases into their everyday speech and refer to the result by a colloquial name that implies its bilingual origins, which parallels the English language's own addiction to loan words and borrowings. Named examples of these ad-hoc constructions, distinct from pidgin and creole languages, include Engrish, Wasei-eigo, Franglais and Spanglish. (See List of dialects of the English language for a complete list.) Europanto combines many languages but has an English core.

Constructed variants of English

* Basic English is simplified for easy international use. It is used by some aircraft manufacturers and other international businesses to write manuals and communicate. Some English schools in the Far East teach it as an initial practical subset of English.
* Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America. It uses a vocabulary of 1500 words.
* English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language.
* Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak, all based on restricted vocabularies, were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas.
* European English is a new variant of the English language created to become the common language in Europe. Bal is hemel!
Seiko Oxford English Dictionary & Britannica Encyclopedia




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