Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Facts and Figures about English

  • There are 300 million people who use English as a second language.
  • A further 100 million people speak it fluently as a foreign language.
  • English is used as an official or semi-official language in over 60 countries.
  • English is used in 85% of the world's organizations.
  • While English is the dominant language on the Web (40%), the presence of other languages is growing.
  • Over two-thirds of the world's scientists write in English.
  • Over 80% of all the information stored electronically around the world is in English.
  • English radio programmes are received by over 150 million people in 120 countries.
  • 50 million children study English as a foreign language at primary schools around the world.
  • At secondary level they are joined by another 80 million children.
  • Around the globe English is the main language of books, newspapers, airports and air-traffic control, advertising, business, medicine, technology, diplomacy, sports, pop music, and academic conferences.
  • More than two-thirds of the world's mail is written in English.
  • Many English words have totally changed meaning over the centuries- here are a few examples with their earlier meaning:
treacle- wild animal
villain- farm labourer
cheater- rent collector
sly -wise
taxation -fault finding
naughty - worth nothing
  • Many English words have been taken from other languages. Here are a few examples:
tycoon -Japanese
slim -Dutch
veranda -Hindi
sofa -Arabic
marmalade –Portuguese

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