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Facts about English
How much do you know about the English language? As the internet and other international media have become more and more popular, the amount of international communication in English just keeps increasing.
There are many different reasons for this, but linguists believe that this trend will just keep continuing - maybe even leading to a three-fold increase in speakers within the next 10 years!
As you might guess, more people speak English as a second language. There are estimated to be about four hundred and seventy million speakers of English as a foreign language, and around three hundred and seventy five million speakers of English as a first language worldwide. Since there are estimated to be over 2,500 languages in the world, that's a very high proportion of people using English!
Computers have significantly changed international communication in the last 10 years. English is the main language used on the internet and is the medium for about 80% of information and text stored on all the computers in the world.
Of course, it's not the internet that first spread English around the world. Long before the internet or even the computer was invented, science and international travel and trade helped the expansion of the English language. Approximately half the world's technical and scientific documents are written in English and there are special versions of English for sea and air navigation - they have a restricted vocabulary and also include some foreign words where there is no precise translation in English. If you added all the technical, scientific and navigation terms to the number of words in the English dictionary it would practically double the total to make nearly a million.
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