As a language that is used all over the world, English is a fascinating subject of study. In the modern world, English is, aside from communication, used in education, print and digital media, business and in running governments. Here are a few facts about one of the most widely spoken and understood languages in the world:
- 20% of the world’s population speak English. With a global population of 7 billion, that’s about 1.4 billion people.
- About 4,000 words are added yearly to the English language. These words are compiled in a body of work known as the Oxford Corpus.
- William Shakespeare added about a thousand words to English. Words like bubble, lonely, fashionable and puking (yes!) were coined by him.
- As of September last year, it is estimated that up to a billion people are learning how to speak English. There are optimistic predictions that that number will almost double by 2020.
- The English language has been in use, and evolving, since 5 A.D. That’s about 1,400 years.
- The letter E is used in 11% of English words.
- In written English, the letter Q appears just once every 510 words.
- The word go, punctuated by a period or exclamation point, is the shortest sentence in the English language.
- Current usage of the word moment implies a measure of time of just a few seconds. In medieval Europe, a moment as a measure of time was calculated as 1/40th of an hour. Or about 90 seconds.
- Compared to German, French, and Spanish, English is one of the major languages that is not formally regulated by an organization. The aforementioned languages each have organizations that regulate usage, vocabulary, and grammar.
- Pilots are required to speak in English, whatever their nationality or airline. Makes sense. Imagine an air traffic controller instructing a pilot who has no fluency in the common language of the aviation industry.
- More than half of the world’s technical and scientific publications are written in English.
- 80% of the world’s digitized words is in English.
Although the United Nations recognizes several major languages, the growth of Englisch Kurse in Zurich manifests the fact that English has become the principal language of the world, both in print and on the web.