The English language
Needless to say, the importance of the English language in today’s world is obvious. English is undeniably the main language of the globe based on the geographical distribution of population that speaks English. As many as 750 million people speak it as their native or official language. It is hard to establish the exact amount of people speaking English as a foreign language, but it has been estimated that almost a quarter of the world’s population has some level of English skills.
The English language is the most important individual language of communication, entertainment, science, aviation, business, diplomatic relations and the Internet. Approximately 75% of the world’s postal services and approximately 80% of information in the electronical format is estimated to be in English.
English is studied worldwide more than any other language, even though for example the importance of the Russian language is still noticeable in countries formed after the Soviet Union and, for example, Mandarin Chinese has an important role in Southeast Asia.
The English language is studied as a foreign language by perhaps almost billion people around the world. In year 1995, circa 87% of the Finnish pupils in the elementary school studied English at the A1 level i.e. as their first foreign language. The English customs and the differences between the Finnish and English culture become familiar for the students straight from the beginning of their studies. Learning the polite way of speaking is an essential part of knowing the culture.
The use of English in the media is multilayered. The five most read papers in the world are in English, with New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal being the most popular. Advertising was born in England in the 17th century and even today, the trends are set by the Anglo-Saxon world. BBC started its first TV broadcasts in 1936 in England and in 1939 the American broadcasts were established by NBC.
In the areas of popular culture, the material produced in English has determined all the trends after World War II. The English language impacts children and youth across the globe in a deep and powerful way while creating role models for the future.
The structure and vocabulary of the English language has also sneaked its way into the “languages” of information technology.
English is the only official language or the most commonly spoken language by far in the following states:
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- the United Kingdom
- the US
English is also one of the official languages, for example, in the following states:
- South Africa
- India (used mainly for governmental purposes, not for practical language)