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English language

West Germanic language / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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English is a West Germanic language in the Indo-European language family. Originating in early medieval England,[3][4][5] today English is both the most spoken language in the world[6] and the third most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.[7] English is the most widely learned second language and is either the official language or one of the official languages in 59 sovereign states. There are more people who have learned English as a second language than there are native speakers. As of 2005, it was estimated that there were over two billion speakers of English.[8]

Quick facts: English, Pronunciation, Native to, Speak...
Native toUnited Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and other locations in the English-speaking world
SpeakersL1: 372.9 million (2022)[2]
L2: 1.08 billion (2022)[2]
Total: 1.452 billion
Early forms
Manually coded English
(multiple systems)
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1en
ISO 639-2eng
ISO 639-3eng
  Countries and territories where English is the native language of the majority
  Countries and territories where English is an official or administrative language but not a majority native language
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English is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the island of Great Britain, and its speakers are called Anglophones. English is the primary language of the Anglosphere, which is usually defined as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as of the Republic of Ireland, and it is also widely spoken in areas of the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.[9] It is a co-official language of the United Nations, the European Union, and many other international and regional organisations. English accounts for at least 70% of speakers of the Germanic language branch.

Old English began as a group of dialects emerging among the West Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons who settled Britain. The late Old English period absorbed some grammar and core vocabulary from Old Norse, a North Germanic language.[10][11][12] Then, the Middle English period borrowed words extensively from French dialects, which contributes approximately 28% to Modern English vocabulary, and from Latin, which also provides about 28%.[13] Thus, despite a majority of its vocabulary coming from the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family, Modern English is genealogically classified under the Germanic branch. It exists on a dialect continuum with Scots and then is most closely related to the Low Saxon and Frisian languages.