English language - Idioma inglés

English
English
Spoken in
Speakers 1 110 000 000 [ 1 ]
Family

Indo-European
Germánico
Occidental
Anglofrisón
Ánglico

English
Writing Latin alphabet
Official status
Officer in 67 countries
27 non-sovereign entities
United Nations
European
Union African Union
Commonwealth of Nations
Council of Europe
NATO
NAFTA
OAS
Organization of the Islamic Conference
Pacific Islands Forum
UKUSA
Codes
ISO 639-1 on
ISO 639-2 eng
ISO 639-3 eng

Anglospeak (SVG version).svg Countries where English is official or de facto, and is spoken by the majority of the population

Countries where English is official but not the most widely spoken

The English language ( English language or English , pronounced / ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ / ) is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo - Saxon kingdoms of England and spread to the North in what would become southeastern Scotland , under the influence of the Kingdom of Northumbria .

English is the most widely spoken language by total number of speakers, with more than one billion people using it as their first or second language. [ 3 ] [ 4 ] If we consider only those for whom it is native tongue (about 400 million), is in third place after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish (or fourth, if the Hindi and Urdu are counted as one one language, because then its speakers outnumber those of the Spanish.) [ 5 ] [ 6 ]

Due to the political, economic, military, scientific and cultural influence of Great Britain and the UK since the eighteenth century , through the British Empire and the United States since the mid the twentieth century , [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] English is widely spread throughout the world. It is the language that most people study, the official language of many Commonwealth countries, one of the official languages ​​(if not the only one) in almost 60 sovereign states. [ 11 ] and one of those of the European Union and numerous world organizations. It has become a lingua franca in many regions; [ 12 ] [ 13 ] that is widely used among speakers of different languages in most of the world. It has also become the de facto language of science, as Latin was in Newton's time.

Historically, modern English originated from the evolution of various Germanic dialects, now collectively called Anglo-Saxon , which were brought to the east coast of Great Britain by Germanic colonizers, the Anglo-Saxons , around the 5th century AD. C. The English word derives from the term ænglisc applied to the Angles . [ 14 ] The English language was later influenced by Old Norse due to the Viking invasions of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries.. Instead most of the English words derive from Latin roots , as this was the lingua franca of Christianity and European intellectual life for centuries. [ 15 ] In addition, the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to significant loanwords from the Norman language (Latin root), and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give it a superficial appearance of proximity to the Romance languages , [ 16 ] [ 17 ]To what had by then become Middle English . The great vowel shift that began in southern England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that characterizes the emergence of modern English from Middle English.

Due to the significant incorporation of words from various European languages ​​throughout history, modern English contains a very large vocabulary. The Oxford English Dictionary contains more than 250,000 different words, not including many technical, scientific and jargon terms . [ 18 ] [ 19 ]

Etymology

The English word derives from the Anglos , or angleis in old French , one of the Germanic tribes , originally from the area of Jutland , in present-day northern Germany, [ 20 ] who invaded England after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century. . [ 21 ]

Historical, social and cultural aspects

Story

EN: English symbolized by ISO 639-1 language code

English is the most widely spoken language by total number of speakers . However, English is the third language in the world in number of speakers who have it as their mother tongue (between 300 and 400 million people). [ 22 ]

English, as England spread its language throughout the world ( British Empire ), and as the United States of America became the greatest economic and military power , has become the de facto lingua franca of our day.

Despite the existence of other international languages ​​and planned international languages, such as Esperanto or Interlingua , which are neutral frank languages ​​although with fewer speakers, English is today the main language of international communication. This is due to the predominance of the dominant civilization, which generally does not adopt another language, but, on the contrary, imposes its own with the privileges that it represents compared to 96% of the world's population today. For a similar reason in many of the European countries languages ​​derived from Latin are spoken , which was the official language of the Roman Empire.. And due to these trends, especially the intellectual elites went from Latin to French , then to English after the end of World War II in September 1945 and English is expected to decline in the following decades compared to other languages ​​such as Spanish, Arabic or Mandarin Chinese, among others. [ 23 ]

Currently there are millions of people who also use a neutral auxiliary language as an alternative , simple by design and not conditioned to changes in world powers. However, according to the Grin Report , which concludes that the use of Esperanto would be the best medium and long-term solution for the European Union and its citizens, it is true that in the short term it would involve an investment or expense in information campaigns and changes of the teaching and learning process. [ 24 ]

origins

English descends from the language spoken by the Germanic tribes who migrated from the shores of the North Sea , in what are now the Netherlands , northern Germany, and part of Denmark , to the British Isles - a territory as large as the which would eventually be called England ( Englaland 'land of the Angles') -. Among the tribes that migrated, there were contingents of Angles , Frisians , Jutes, and Saxons . Their language is called Old Anglo-Saxon .

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , around the year 449, Vortigern , king of the British Isles, extended an invitation to Angles led by Hengest and Horsa to help him against the Picts . In return, the Anglo-Saxons would be granted land in the southeast. More help was sought, and Angles, Saxons, and Jutes came in response. The chronicle documents the subsequent arrival of "settlers", who eventually formed seven kingdoms: Northumbria , Mercia , East Anglia , Kent , Essex , Sussex and Wessex.. However, in the judgment of most modern scholars, this Anglo-Saxon story is legendary and politically motivated.

Old English

Beowulf , written in Old English .

These Germanic invaders dominated the native British and Latin Celtic-speaking inhabitants . The languages ​​spoken by these Germanic invaders formed what was to be called Old English , which was a language related to Old Frisian . Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon ) was heavily influenced by another Germanic dialect, Old Norse , spoken by the Vikings who settled mainly in north-eastern Britain . English words Inglés (English) and England (England) are derived from words referring to the Anglos :englisc and England . However, Old English was not a unified language common to the entire island, but there were mainly four dialects: Mercian , Northumbrian , Kentic, and West Saxon .

From a grammatical point of view, Old English has many typological similarities with ancient Indo-European languages, such as Latin or Greek , and also modern German . Among these similarities are the presence of a morphological case in the name and the difference in grammatical gender. The verbal system was synthetic in nature, unlike modern English, which uses more verbal periphrasis and auxiliary verbs.

Intermediate English

The Middle English of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries has significant typological changes from the old English. Typologically Middle English is closer to Modern English and Romance languages ​​than Old English. The main difference between Middle English and Modern English is pronunciation. In particular, the large vowel shift extensively modified the vowel inventory, producing diphthongs from numerous long vowels and changing the degree of opening of many monophthongs. The influence of the French-speaking Norman nobility , who arrived on the island around this time, also had an effect on the lexiconof Middle English, which are still preserved today. This gives rise, for example, to the distinction between pig (pork) and pork (pork), the first being of German origin and the second of French origin (the lower classes raised pigs that became pork for the upper classes ).

Starting in the 18th century, the pronunciation of English was already very similar to that of modern English. And from that time on, most of the phonetic changes that today are the basis of modern dialects began to take place .

Early modern english

The Early Modern English ( Early Modern Inglés ) is the oldest form of modern English, as a variant of the Anglo - Saxon language and the Middle English particularly that practiced until then. It is English that was spoken mainly during the Renaissance , and more commonly associated with the literary language of William Shakespeare . [ 25 ]

Chronologically it is located between the 16th and 18th centuries (between 1450 and 1700 approximately) in the areas populated by the Anglo-Normans. It was consolidated largely due to the rise of British letters in that historical period and the contributions of foreign languages.

It is considered the most evolutionary phase and close to English today.

Geographical distribution

Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language . English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish . However, when native and non-native speakers are combined, it is surely the most widely spoken language in the world, albeit possibly second, counting a combination of the various Chinese languages (depending on whether the distinctions in the latter are classified as "languages" or "dialects"). [ 26 ] [ 27 ]

Estimates that count it as a second language vary widely, from 470 million to more than a billion, depending on how literacy or proficiency and the different levels are defined . [ 28 ] [ 29 ] The linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non - native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. [ 30 ]

The countries with the largest population of native English speakers are, in descending order: United States (226 million), [ 31 ] the United Kingdom (61 million), [ 32 ] Canada (18200000), [ 33 ] australia (15500000), [ 34 ] Nigeria (4,000,000), [ 35 ] Ireland (3,800,000), [ 32 ] South Africa (3,700,000), [ 36 ]and New Zealand (3.6 million) in Census 2006. [ 37 ]

Countries like the Philippines , Jamaica, and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of Creole dialect forms ranging from a Creole with some English base to a more standard version of English. Of the countries where English is spoken as a second language, India has the highest number of such speakers (see i Indian English ). Crystal states that with the combination of native and non-native speakers, India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world. [ 38 ] [ 39 ]

English-speaking countries in order of total speakers

Country Total Percentage of the population First language As an additional language Population Commentary
United States flag USA 267 444 149 95 % 225 505 953 41 938 196 280 950 438 Source: American Community Survey: Language Use in the United States: 2007 , Table 1. Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported that they do not speak English at home, but know it "very well or well." The figures correspond to the population 5 years of age and older.
Indian flag India 125 344 736 12 % 226 449 86 125 221 (second language)
38 993 066 (third language)
1 365 500 436 Source: http://countrymeters.info/es/India
Pakistan flag Pakistan 88 690 000 49 % 88 690 000 180 440 005 Source: Euromonitor International Report 2009. The Benefits of the English Language for Individuals and Societies: Quantitative Indicators from Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Bangladesh and Pakistan . A custom report produced by Euromonitor International for the British Council.
Nigerian Flag Nigeria 79 000 000 53 % 4 000 000 75 000 000+ 148 000 000 Figures are for Nigerian Pidgin, Pidgin, or English-based Creole speakers. Ihemere gives a range of around three to five million native speakers; the midpoint of the range is used in the table. Ihemere, Kelechukwu Uchechukwu (2006). Ihemere, Kelechukwu Uchechukwu (2006). " A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin " . Nordic Journal of African Studies (English) 15 (3): 296-313.
Flag of the United Kingdom UK 59 600 000 98 % 58 100 000 1 500 000 60 000 000 Source: Crystal (2005), p. 109.
Philippines flag Philippines 43 994 000 52 %[40] 20 000[40] 43 974 000 84 566 000 Ethnologue lists 3.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking as an additional language. [ 40 ]
Canada's flag Canada 25 246 220 85 % 17 694 830 7 551 390 29 639 030 Source: 2001 Census - Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue . The number of native speakers comprises 122,660 people with French and English as their mother tongue, in addition to 17,572,170 people with English and not French as their mother tongue.
Australian flag Australia 18 172 989 92 % 15 581 329 2 591 660 19 855 288 Source: 2006 Census. [ 41 ] The figure in the first column for the English-speaking language is actually the number of Australian residents who only speak English at home. The extra text column shows the number of other residents who say they speak English "well" or "very well." Another 5% of residents did not declare their native language or English proficiency.
South African flag South Africa 9.6 % 4 892 623 51 770 560 Source: Census 2011. Native speakers = English - speaking people at home [ 42 ]
Irish flag Ireland 94 % 4 588 252 Source: Census 2011 [ 43 ]
New Zealand flag New Zealand 3 673 626 91.2 % 3 008 058 665 568 4 027 947 Source: 2006 Census. [ 44 ] Figures refer to people who can speak English fluently enough for everyday conversation. The figure shown in the first language column indicating the number of people who speak it as such is actually the number of New Zealand residents who reported speaking English only, while the additional language column shows the number. New Zealand residents who reported speaking English as one of two or more languages.
Note: Total = First language + Other languages; Percentage = Total / Population

Countries where the majority of the population speaks English

Map highlighting countries where English is spoken natively by the majority of the population.
Countries where English is spoken natively by the majority of the population.

English is the primary language in Anguilla , Antigua and Barbuda , Australia , the Bahamas , Barbados , Belize , Bermuda , British Indian Ocean Territory , the British Virgin Islands , Canada , Cayman Islands , Dominica , the Falkland Islands , Gibraltar , Grenada , Guam , Guernsey , Guyana , Ireland , Isle of Man , Jamaica, Jersey , Montserrat , Nauru , New Zealand , Pitcairn Islands , Saint Helena, Ascensión and Tristán da Cunha, Saint Kitts and Nevis , Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , Saint Lucia , Singapore , Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands , Trinidad and Tobago , the Turks and Caicos Islands , the United Kingdom and the United States .

Among the countries where English is not the most widely spoken language, but is an official language , are Botswana , Cameroon , the Federated States of Micronesia , Fiji , Gambia , Ghana , Hong Kong , India , Kenya , Kiribati , Lesotho , Liberia , Malta , Marshall Islands , Mauritius , Namibia , Nigeria , Pakistan , Palau , Papua New Guinea, Philippines , Rwanda , Samoa , Seychelles , Sierra Leone , Solomon Islands , Sri Lanka , Sudan , South Sudan , Swaziland , Tanzania , Uganda , Zambia and Zimbabwe . There are also countries where in some part of their territory English became a co-official language, for example, the Bay Islands of Honduras , the Mosquito Coast of Honduras and Nicaragua., San Andrés and Providencia de Colombia , as a result of the influence of the British colonization in the area.

English is one of the eleven official languages ​​that have the same status in South Africa . It is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (the Norfolk Island , Christmas Island and Cocos Island ) and the United States ( American Samoa , Guam , Marianas Islands of the North , Puerto Rico (in Puerto Rico, English is co-official with Spanish), and the US Virgin Islands ), [ 45 ] and the former British colony of Hong Kong .

Although the federal government of the United States does not have official languages, English has the official status of 30 of the 50 state governments. [ 46 ] With lower than official status, English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom, for example, Bahrain , Bangladesh , Brunei , Cyprus , Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates .

English as a global language

Percentage of the population of each country with knowledge of English 80–100% 60–80% 40–60% 20–40% 0–20%

Because English is widely spoken, it has often been referred to as the "language of the world," the lingua franca of the modern era. Although it is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most frequently taught as a foreign language . By an international treaty, it is the official language of aeronautical, [ 47 ] and maritime communication . [ 48 ] English is one of the five official languages ​​of the United Nations and many other international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee .

English is the most studied language in the world. In the European Union, the degree of knowledge is variable and according to the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages ​​among Europeans, English is 67% ahead of German, 17% and 16% for French (from 2012). Among some of the non-English speaking countries of the EU, the following percentages of the adult population claimed to be able to converse in English in 2012: 90% in the Netherlands, 89% in Malta, 86% in Sweden and Denmark, 73% in Cyprus and Austria, 70% in Finland, and more than 50% in Greece, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Germany. In 2012, except for native speakers, 38% of Europeans considered that they could speak English, [ 49 ]But only 3% of the Japanese spoke it. [ 50 ]

Books, magazines and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world, and English is the most widely used language in science. The Science Citation Index recorded that as early as 1997 95% of its articles were written in English, despite the fact that only half of them came from authors from English-speaking countries.

Literature in English predominates considerably with 28% of all volumes published in the world [Leclerc 2011] and 30% of web content in 2011 (from 50% in 2000). [ 50 ]

This growing use of the English language worldwide has had a major impact on many other languages, leading to language substitution and even the death of languages, [ 51 ] and there have been claims of linguistic imperialism . [ 52 ] English is shown as one of the languages ​​most open to change, with multiple regional varieties that feed back to the language as a whole. [ 52 ]

Linguistic description

The varieties of English are very similar in their pronunciation of consonants; most of the interdialectal variations refer to vowels.

Classification

English is an Indo - European language of the West Germanic group . Although due to the sociolinguistics of the British Isles from the Viking invasions and the subsequent Norman invasion , it has received important loans from the North Germanic languages ​​and French, and much of its lexicon has been reworked with Latin cultisms . The last two influences make English probably one of the most atypical Germanic languages ​​in both vocabulary and grammar.

The most similar living linguistic relative to English is undoubtedly Friesian , a language spoken by about half a million people in the Dutch province of Friesland , near Germany , and on a few islands in the North Sea . The similarity between Frisian and English is clearer when Old Frisian is compared to Old English, as the restructuring of English by foreign influences has made modern English a noticeably less Frisian-like language than it once was. ancient.

Phonology

Spoken english
American English
Spoken english
British English

The consonant inventory of English consists of 25 items (some varieties from Scotland and North America reach 27 by including two additional voiceless fricatives):

Labial Dental Interdental Alveolar Alv.-pal. To ensure Labiovelar Glotal
Occlusive /
Afrikaans
/ p /
p it
/t/
t in
/tʃ/
cheap
/k/
cut
/b/
bit
/ d /
d in
/dʒ/
jeep
/ ɡ /
g ut
Fricatives /f/
fat
/θ/
thin
/ s /
s ap
/ʃ/
she
/x/*
loch
/ʍ/*
which
/ h /
h am
/ v /
v at
/ ð /
th en
/ with /
with ap
/ʒ/
measure
Nasal /m/
map
/ n /
n ap
/ŋ/
bang
Approximants /l/
left
/r/
run
/j/
yes
/w/
we

Asterisk (*) phonemes are only present in some varieties of English (especially Scottish English and some varieties from the United States and Canada), the rest are universal and appear in all varieties. Each of these phonemes can present allophonic variations according to the phonetic context. For example:

  • the occlusive deaf strongly aspirated sound principle and less vacuumed word preceded by s- . Compare pin [ pʰɪn ] / spin [ spɪn ], Kate [ kʰeɪt ] / skate [ skeɪt ], tone [ tʰoʊn ] / stone [ stoʊn ]
  • the lateral approximant / l / has a "clear" sound (non-velarized) in the syllabic attack position ( l eft [ left ], b l ow [ blow ]) and a "dark" sound (velarized) in the ending position. syllabic ( mi l k [ mɪɫk ]).

Orthography

The spelling of English was fixed around the 15th century. [ 53 ] Although since then the language has undergone important phonetic changes , especially in vowels, which makes spelling not a safe guide for pronunciation. As an example we can consider the sequence -ea- , which has up to eight different pronunciations [ 54 ] only partially predictable from the phonetic context:

Sound Orthography AFI transcript Meaning
[e], [ɛ] head, health [ hed ] / [ hɛd ], [ helθ ] / [ hɛlθ ] 'head', 'health'
[iː] heap, heat [hiːp], [hiːt] 'heap', 'heat'
[ɜː], [ɝ] heard, hearse [hɜːd]/[hɝd], [hɜːs]/[hɝs] 'heard' (of hearing), 'hearse'
[ɑː], [ɑɹ] heart, hearken [hɑːt] / [hɑɹt], [hɑːk ə n] / [hɑɹk ə n] 'heart', 'listen'
[ɛə], [ɛɚ] bear [bɛə] / [bɛɚ] 'endure', 'endure'; 'bear'
[ɪə], [ɪɚ] beard, hear [bɪəd] / [bɪɚd]; [hɪə] / [hɪɚ] 'beard', 'hear'
[eɪ] break, great, steak [bɹeɪk], [gɹeɪt], [steɪk] 'break', 'great', 'steak'
[iˈeɪ] create [kɹiˈeɪt] 'to create'

English words are not accented, also question marks and exclamation marks are only placed at the end of each sentence.

Grammar

English has many of the typical features of European languages . The name presents a difference between singular and plural . In modern English, unlike its Old English ancestor , the name makes no distinction of gender or case . Case differences are restricted in modern English to the pronoun, as is the case in Romance languages, for example .

In the verbal system, English, like German and the Romance languages, has undergone a similar evolution. "Perfect compound forms" have been created to express the perfect aspect and "periphrastic forms" with the verb ser to express the progressive or continuous aspect. Another similarity is the development of future forms from auxiliary verbs . An important difference between English and other Germanic and Romance languages ​​is the weakening of the subjunctive mood . Similarly, English, like German, Dutch, or Romance languages, has created genuine definite articles from demonstrative forms .

Lexicon

Influences on English vocabulary

The lexicon of modern English is made up of a nucleus of heritage words directly inherited from Old English , among which are most of the purely grammatical words, as well as most of the most frequent words. However, among the lexical forms of medium or small frequency, Latin and French loanwords predominate, which are usually cultisms, although they also have penetration into the usual lexicon.

Indeed, among the ten thousand most frequent words, just over a third are words of Germanic origin, while more than 60% are words of Latin or Romance origin. [ 55 ] The following table shows the preponderance of the different sources of the lexicon in terms of frequency.

Frequency
Old english
French Latin Germanic Other
Nordic Other
1-1000[56] 83 % 11 % 2 % 2 % 2 %
1001-2000[56] 34 % 46 % 11 % 2 % 7 %
2001-3000[56] 29 % 46 % 11 % 1 % 10 %
1- 10000[57] 32 % 45 % 17 % 4 % 2 %

Words derived from Old English, popularly called "Germanic", connote seriousness and dedication, something like traditional Spanish words . [ citation needed ] When Winston Churchill said, in his first speech as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1940), that the only thing he could offer his people at war was " blood, toil, tears, and sweat»(Blood, work, tears and sweat), his taking the situation seriously is demonstrated in his use of exclusively Germanic words. Instead, an abundant use of Romance words, generally derived from French, indicates triviality or bureaucracy. In legal documents of the past it was common to use pairs of synonymous words, one of Anglo-Saxon origin and the other Romanesque, such as "last will and testament" (last testament), to avoid misunderstandings. The ancestry of English words can facilitate anthropological conclusions: sheep , pig and cow animals are Germanic, while the names of meats derived from these animals are Romanesque: mutton (not used in the United States). .), pork, beef . This indicates the social class that cared for the animals - the conquered Anglo-Saxons - and those who enjoyed their meat: the Norman (French) conquerors.

Writing system

English uses the Latin alphabet without any addition, except for words taken directly from other languages ​​with different alphabets. However, historically Old English had used special signs for some of its sounds: <Ā, Æ, Ǣ, Ǽ, Ċ, Ð, Ē, Ġ, Ī, Ō, Ū, Ƿ, Ȳ. Þ, Ȝ> and the corresponding lower case <ā, æ, ǣ, ǽ, ċ, ð, ē, ġ, ī, ō, ū, ƿ, ȳ, þ, ȝ>.

Another feature of modern English spelling is the existence of a large number of contractions:

They're , contraction of They are = They are / are.
She isn't o She's not, contracción de She is not = Ella no es.
I'd eat , contraction of I would eat = I would eat
You'll see , contraction of You will see = Tú verás

It should be said that these contractions are used mostly in colloquial speech and to a lesser extent in formal speech.

Other aspects

Lack of a central authority

In contrast to Spanish and other languages, there is no central authority that controls spelling, grammar, and lexicon, although this or that dictionary or other book is sometimes cited as authority. Decentralization facilitates the minting of new words, the introduction of foreign words, and the formation of regional or social varieties of speech.

Language status

English in the EU .

The most widely spoken types of English in the world

Regional dialects0

Europe

America

Asia

Oceania

Other dialects

English levels

The levels of mastery of the English language (like those of all languages) are based on what is defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR), which is the system that defines and explains the different levels of oral expression and comprehension. and written that a person has regarding a language that is not their mother tongue. This standard is used mainly in Europe, although there are several countries that use it as a reference.

In the case of students or people who need to certify their level of English to study, work or apply for a scholarship abroad, the CEFR allows them to compare the score or level obtained in exams such as Cambridge, IELTS or Aptis with the one that will be required of them. in educational institutions or international companies.

The Common European Framework of Reference establishes a scale of six common levels of reference for the organization of language learning and homologation of the different degrees issued by certified entities.

See also

References

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