English language (English language / 'ɪŋglɪʃ' læŋgwɪʤ /, English) - a language from the group of the western family of Germanic languages, widely spoken in Great Britain, its dependent territories and in many former colonies and dominions, incl. United States, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It is an official or semi-official language in over 60 countries.
In the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, English is de facto the official language, although these countries have not formally applied this status to any language. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations, and has been the most widely used language in international contacts since the 20th century. It is sometimes referred to as the first universal modern language of mankind. It is the main language of science, commerce and politics, and in some countries also of higher education.
English shows a strong geographic and social diversity. English dialects are partially different in phonetics, vocabulary and grammar. The role of the institutional communicative norm is played by a differently defined general English dialect (Standard English), appearing in various national sub-variants. English is now a source of loanwords almost all over the world, but before that it was English that had evolved under the influence of other languages.
English is the native language of 527 million people. It ranks third, behind Hindi or Urdu (one group, 588 million native languages) and Chinese (1.39 billion). 1.5 billion people learn it, compared to only 30 million Chinese. English as their first and main language is used by citizens of 101 countries.
English is a West Germanic language derived from Anglo-Frisian and Jutlandic language brought to Britain by Germanic settlers and Roman troops from what is now northern Germany and the Netherlands. In the beginning, Old English was a diverse group of dialects, depicting the diverse origins of the Anglo-Saxon population in England at that time. One of these dialects, Late Western Slavic, finally gained the upper hand. The original Old English was then influenced by aliens due to two waves of invasion. The first is the Viking invasion of Scandinavian language speakers; they captured and colonized parts of Britain in the eighth and ninth centuries. The second is the Norman invasion of the 11th century. They spoke Old French and developed an Anglo-Norman form of English. These two invasions made English a mixed language to some extent.
Coexistence with the Scandinavians resulted in a noticeable grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English; the later Norman occupation led to the transplantation into the Germanic root of a more sophisticated layer of words from the Romance branch of European languages. This Norman influence introduced the English into courts and offices. In this way, English evolved into a "borrowing" language with great flexibility and a rich vocabulary.
Spelling and Phonetics
The modern English alphabet is identical to the Latin alphabet and consists of twenty-six letters:
The English spelling, especially vowels, is very irregular. Additionally, there is a large geographical variation in pronunciation. Dialects differ in many ways, one of the best known differences is the presence or absence of an "r" in front of a consonant and in absolute utterance. Dialects also differ significantly in vowel systems.
When it comes to the spelling form, the statistically most common letters are: "e" (occurring 56 times more often than the rarest "q"), "a" (43 ×), "r" (39 ×), "i" (38 ×) , "O" (36