What Is English?

English is a language - originally the language of the social individuals of England. Today, English is the language that is main of United Kingdom, Ireland, america of America, Canada, Australia, brand new Zealand and a lot more than fifty other nations. (Interestingly, English is NOT the language that is official of USA, though its the official language of some US states.)

Global, there are over 400 million indigenous speakers of English, and over one billion more folks speak it being a language that is second. English is probably the language that is third terms of amount of native speakers (after Mandarin and Spanish); and one of the most widely spoken language regarding the earth taking into account native and non-native speakers.

Consequently English may also be described as a "world language" or a lingua that is"global. It's the world's most language that is widely-used worldwide business and telecommunications, newspaper and book publishing, scientific publishing, mass entertainment and diplomacy.

English works on the system that is composing on the classical Latin or Roman alphabet—the English alphabet with twenty-six letters that have:


For History on all the alphabets including English, visit:



The term "English" is produced from Anglisc, the message regarding the Angles—one of this three Germanic tribes that invaded England through the century that is fifth. The English language is the primary language of several nations, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the uk and several of its previous colonies, and the usa, and a language that is second a number of multilingual countries, including India, Singapore, therefore the Philippines.

It is an language that is official several African countries too, such as Liberia, Nigeria, and South Africa, it is spoken worldwide in more than 100. It's learned around the globe by children in college as being a language that is foreign often turns into a common denominator between people of different nationalities whenever they meet while traveling, doing business, or in other contexts.

According to Christine Kenneally in her book "The First Word," "there are about 6,000 languages within the world, and 50 % of the entire world's population speaks only 10 of them today. English is the solitary most principal of these 10. British colonialism initiated the spread of English around the world; it is spoken almost everywhere and is now even more common since World War II, utilizing the reach that is global of power."

The influence of the English language has additionally spread globally through American pop culture, music, films, advertising, and TV programs.

Spoken Worldwide

About 20 percent of the world's population talks English as a first or language that is additional about 1.5 billion individuals. It, that brings the estimate up to more than one-fourth of the world, or even more than 2 billion of the entire world's 7.7 billion individuals, as of 2019 if you include those who use. Only about 360 million people speak it as their language that is first.

"these day there are estimated become 1.5 billion English speakers globally: 375 million whom speak English as their first language, 375 million as a language that is 2nd 750 million who talk English as a spanish," noted Tony Reilly in "English Changes Lives" in Britain's The Sunday days. He proceeded:

"The elites of Egypt, Syria and Lebanon have actually dumped French in favour of English. India has reversed its campaign that is former against language of its colonial rulers, and millions of Indian parents are actually enrolling their kiddies in English-language schools—in recognition of the importance of English for social mobility. Since 2005, India has had the world’s largest population that is english-speaking with far many more people utilizing the language than before independence. Rwanda, in a move dictated the maximum amount of by regional economics as post-genocide politics, has decreed a switch that is wholesale English as its medium of instruction. And China is about to introduce a colossal programme to tackle one of the few remaining obstacles to its breakneck expansion that is economic a paucity of English-speakers.

"English has official or status that is special at least 75 countries with a mixed population of two billion people. It is estimated that certain out of four people worldwide speak English with a few degree of competence."

Whenever English Was First Spoken

English derived from the language that is proto-Indo-European by nomads wandering Europe about 5,000 years ago. German also came from this language. English is conventionally split into three major periods that are historical Old English, Middle English, and Modern English. Old English was brought to the Isles that is uk by individuals: the Jutes, Saxons, and Angles, beginning in 449. With the establishment of centers of learning in Winchester, histories being written, while the interpretation of important Latin texts into West Saxon's dialect in 800s, the dialect spoken there became the"Old English that is official." Adopted words came from Scandinavian languages.

Development of the English Language

Into the Norman conquest in 1066, the Norman French dialect (which was French by having a influence that is germanic arrived in Britain. The center of learning gradually moved from Winchester to London, therefore Old English no longer dominated. Norman French, spoken by the aristocracy, and Old English, talked by the folks which can be common intermingled over time to become center English. By the 1200s, about 10,000 terms that are french been integrated into English. Some words served as replacements for the language that are english and others coexisted with slightly changed definitions.

Spellings changed as people utilizing the Norman French background had written down the words that are english they sounded. Other modifications include the increased loss of sex for nouns, some word types (called inflections), the silent "e," and the coalescing of a more word order that is constrained. Chaucer wrote in Middle English in the 1300s that are late. Latin (church, courts), French, and English were trusted in Britain during the time, though English still had many dialects that are local caused some confusion.

Usage of Contemporary English

Many scholars look at the Modern that is early English to own begun about 1500. During the Renaissance, English incorporated words that are numerous Latin via French, from traditional Latin (not just church Latin), and Greek. The King James Bible (1611) and works of William Shakespeare are considered in contemporary English.

A evolution that is major the language, ending the "early" subportion for the Modern English period, was when the pronunciation of long vowels changed. It's called the Great Vowel Shift and it is considered to have happened from the 1400s through the 1750s or so. For example, a center English vowel that is long high as e eventually changed up to a Modern English very long i, and a Middle English long oo evolved as a Modern English ou sound. Long mid- and low-vowels changed too, such as for instance a long a evolving to a Modern English very long e plus an sound that is ah to the long a sound.

Therefore to clarify, the word "Modern" English refers more to the stasis that is relative of pronunciation, grammar, and spelling than it has anything to do with present vocabulary or slang, which can be always changing.

Today's English

English is ever adopting new terms off their languages (350 languages, according to David Crystal in "English as a language that is international). About three-quarters of its words come from Greek and Latin, but, as Ammon Shea points out in "Bad English: a past reputation for Linguistic Aggravation," "it is certainly not just a Romance language, it's a Germanic one. Proof of this may be found in the known fact that it is quite easy to create a sentence without terms of Latin origin, but pretty much impossible to make one that has no words from Old English."

With therefore sources which are many its evolution, English is malleable, with words also being invented regularly aswell. Robert Burchfield, in "the language that is english" calls the language "a fleet of juggernaut vehicles that goes on regardless. No type of linguistic engineering with no amount of linguistic legislation shall prevent the myriads of modification that lie ahead."

Improvements to the Dictionary

After a specific amount of usage, dictionary editors decide whether a word that is new enough staying capacity to include it to your dictionary. Merriam-Webster notes that its editors spend an hour or two daily reading a cross-section of material looking for brand new words, new meanings to old words, new forms, new spellings, and such. The words are logged right into a database with their context for documentation and analysis that is further.

A brand new word or change to an existing term must have considerable amount of use over amount of time in an assortment of types of publications and/or media (extensive usage, not just in jargon) before being added to the dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary features a comparable process because of its 250 lexicographers and editors whom are continually researching and language information that is updating.

Varieties of English

Just like the United States has regional dialects and you will find differences in pronunciation and terms in British and American English, the language has local varieties throughout the world: African-American Vernacular English, American, British, Canadian, Caribbean, Chicano, Chinese, Euro-English, Hinglish, Indian, Irish, Nigerian, Nonstandard English, Pakistani, Scottish, Singapore, Standard United states, Standard British, Standard English, and Zimbabwean.