English – a widely spoken language
Why is the English language so widely spreat over the world? The answer can be found in history. The development of English as a global language started with the growth of the British Empire. At the „Age of Discovery“, England – among other European coutntries - began to establish colonies especially in Asia and the Americas and grew to an important colonial power. Trade, economy and politics had also a deep impact on the expansion of English as a spoken language.
After World War II., the United States as a superpower played a great role in the world. English became an important international language in science, business, diplomacy, communications as well as in diverse professional fields like medicine and technology.
Approximately a billion people speak English, among which 375 million speak English as a first language. Among all countries, the United States have the highest population of English native speakers (approx. 215 million), followed by the United Kingdom with approx. 61 million native speakers. Further countries to be mentioned here are Canada with around 18.2 million native speakers, Australia with 15.5 million, Ireland with 3.8 million, South Africa with 3.7 million and New Zealand with up to 3.7 million native speakers.
Also Jamaica and Nigeria have a large number of native speakers. India should be mentioned as the country with the largest number of people speaking English as a second language. In many other countries, English is an official, but not the most spoken language, e.g. in Puerto Rico, Malta, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana and Sri Lanka.
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