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We know that English is the most understood language today, with 2 billion speakers across the world.
English is not just the most common language: it’s also the most important one for you to learn for many reasons!
The British Council conducted interviews with six English language students to understand the ways in which their English courses were impacting their lives. They found that English was a liberating force: enabling the learners to be competitive in the job market, access college-education overseas and enhance their ability to access information and build friendships online.
This important language has changed the lives of so many people. It could just change your life too.
If you’re looking for more reasons why you should be part of the huge community of English speakers, read on!
5 Fascinating Facts about the English language
There’s always something interesting to learn about English. Below are 5 surprising facts that will help you understand more about this incredible language!
There are 2 billion English speakers in the world
With 2 billion speakers worldwide, English is the largest language by the number of speakers. It is also the third largest language by the number of native speakers.
As the most common language, English has the power of connecting people from many different cultures, building relationships and understanding. After putting your time and effort in to learn English, you’ll be able to speak with around 20% of people in the world.
English is the official language of 67 countries
That’s right, 67 countries! In some countries where English is not the most spoken language, it is still an official language. That means, it’s accepted by a country’s government, and often taught in schools. That’s a lot of the world covered with just one language!
Amongst these countries are the “core Anglosphere“. These include the USA (with at least 230 million native English speakers), the UK (with 60 million speakers), Canada (at least 20 million), Australia (at least 17 million), and New Zealand (4.8 million). Due to the colonial history of the British empire, some countries also have English as an official language. These include Barbados, India, Nigeria and Cyprus.
English words used to have gender
If you speak Spanish, German or French, you’ll be familiar with languages where nouns come in three varieties: masculine, feminine or neutral. These days, English nouns don’t have a gender. But once upon a time, they did.
Up until the 1200s, instead of using the articles “the” or “a”, Old English had the masculine article “se” and the feminine article “seo”. Linguists aren’t sure what happened to provoke the change. However, Professor Anne Curzan claims in her book Gender Shifts in the History of English that English lost its genders after the language was mixed with many others over hundreds of years. A lot of this language mixing took place in the North of England, where the Vikings made a huge impact after invading between the 700s and the 1000s.
Since English has such complex grammar rules, it’s fortunate that there isn’t the added complication of gendered nouns!
There are ~171,000 words in the English vocabulary
Before we explain just how deep the English language is, we need to mention — there is absolutely no need for English learners to be scared by the number of words there are. In fact, research shows that you will be able to understand about 65% of all writing in English with only the 300 most common words.
At the time of writing, the Oxford English Dictionary contains 171,476 words. However, it’s hard to tell if these numbers are reliable, simply because English has repurposed words from so many other languages. It’s also surprisingly difficult for linguists to measure what “counts” as a whole word… for example, should we include plurals, diminutives and conjugations?
It’s estimated that three words are added to the dictionary every two hours, and roughly 1,000 words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary every year. In 2020 alone, “LOL”, “awesomesauce”, and “shticky” were all added to the dictionary, which shows how flexible and fun the language has become.
Shakespeare added over 1,000 words to the English language
Changes in a language are usually down to the effort of hundreds of thousands of speakers over hundreds of years. It’s extremely unusual for one person to be responsible for a big linguistic shift, but in English, there is one exception — William Shakespeare.
The English language wouldn’t be the same without the writer of famous plays like Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Through him, we were introduced to words like “lonely”, “critic”, and “addiction”. Interested to see which words Shakespeare invented? You can explore the full list of words Shakespeare invented here.
If you feel like a challenge, try adding Shakespeare to your reading list alongside these 15 classic English stories.
6 reasons why English is the most valuable language you can learn in 2020 (and beyond)
Knowing English will allow you to be part of a global conversation in so many ways. Below are just five of the reasons learning English could change your life for the better.
1. English is the dominant language in academia
As of 2020, 17 of the top 20 universities in the global rankings are English-speaking. This alone shows how widely-adopted English is as the language of academia.
Learning English opens the door to some of the world’s top colleges and universities, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom. Many of these institutions ask for a B2 level of English. If you’re looking to improve your English specifically to meet this criteria, you can easily find an online tutor who can assess your speaking, writing, listening and reading skills.
Achieving B2 level English might sound like a challenge, but academic institutions ask for a strong level for your own good. It’s so you can keep up with your classes and learn effectively, without stressing over your language barriers.
The best way to prove your English level is by achieving a certification from either the IELTS or TOEFL English exams. One of these two certifications is your golden ticket to opportunities, not just at university, but in your career too.
2. English is the most common business language
Learning English will make you more employable to not just businesses in the UK and US, but also businesses across the world. Research by Cambridge English found that English is important for over 95% of employers, even in many countries where English is not an official language.
If you don’t speak the common language in your office, you’ll miss out on bonding time with colleagues. More seriously, you may find it difficult to make yourself understood in your day-to-day role, as well as with customers and potential clients. That’s why international businesses are always on the lookout for competent English speakers.
With English, you’ll be valuable to any company. And you’ll be rewarded for your knowledge, too. One study found that being fluent in English can increase your hourly wage by 28% on average.
By learning English you can create a bright future where you can earn and work almost anywhere in the world. Just ask Marc, who was promoted and relocated to New York after improving his English. “For my new job, I needed to be able to bring more nuance to my conversations,” he said. “Now, I’m calmer when I take part in large meetings with other managers who come from the UK.”
3. The most popular entertainment in the world is in English
Hollywood and Netflix have opened up our minds to brilliantly-told stories and incredible must-see TV. When you learn English, you won’t need to read pesky subtitles with weird translations any longer!
Entertainment is also one of the easiest and most fun ways to learn English! For example, you could watch movies with a notepad, pausing throughout to look up new vocabulary. Or, you could “shadow” your favorite characters, by pausing the movie when they say something interesting, and repeating it carefully. These are fun ways to learn new words, as well as practice your pronunciation.
YouTube is also a great resource to learn a language, since 66% of YouTube’s content is in English. There are also lots of vloggers and channels dedicated to online language learning, like Bob the Canadian, LinguaMarina and Mr Duncan. Check out our 10 favorite YouTube channels to learn English.
On top of that, you have online games, literature, live shows and much more… with English you’ll have access to endless entertainment.
4. English is the most useful language for travel
With so many English speakers, traveling across the world becomes so much easier!
As a common second language, you can often speak with people in English to learn about your surroundings and cultures. Knowing even a little bit of English certainly helps if you’re stuck somewhere and need to find the local bus station, or if you want to negotiate bargain prices in a market. In an emergency, it could even save your or somebody else’s life.
In many popular tourist destinations, hospitality workers use English as it helps their businesses. They are able to better communicate with potential customers. It also helps customers find what they need and get their money’s worth.
If you’re able to bridge the communication gap with English, you’ll find traveling so much simpler. If you’re taking a holiday sometime soon, take a look at these must-know English travel phrases.
5. English is the language of the online world
Over half of the most visited web pages in the world are in English, making it the dominant language online. With over 1 billion internet users typing in English, you’ll be able to access many types of resources and learning platforms to strengthen your skills.
You’ll be entertained by YouTube videos and movies. You’ll be able to read the headlines on The New York Times. You’ll be able to interact with people on language exchange apps. You might even find love with dating apps. The internet is so vast, so the possibilities are endless!
English is not just an advantage for online entertainment. Individuals can develop and advertise their skills using English on the internet, such as building their own website or taking an online course. International companies are also using online tools such as email and Linkedin to source new English-speaking employees, and Zoom to conduct online interviews.
Whether it’s to grow professionally or simply for fun, understanding English can help you open new opportunities and possibilities all through the power of the internet.
6. English is the easiest language in the world to learn
Learning English is not without its difficulties. You’ll have to battle with odd spellings and pronunciation of words like “colonel” and “choir.” However, there are many reasons why people consider English the easiest of all the languages to learn.
To start, English nouns have no genders and a (relatively!) simple grammar system. Sentence structures are fairly straightforward without a tricky morphology. Morphology is when words change depending on their function in a sentence. For example, in English you won’t change the ending of an adjective depending on the gender of the noun in a sentence, like you would in languages like Spanish. This makes learning nouns and adjectives a breeze.
Best of all, there are endless ways to expose yourself to English — more than any other language. Whether it’s through TV, books, the internet, or 1-on-1 conversation. Absorbing English through articles, books and watching TV shows like these can be very helpful.
Sharpen your real-world English skills with 1-on-1 tutoring
Learning English becomes so much easier when you take advantage of the wealth of English entertainment available, as well as the vast amount of online learning resources. However, to get fluent fast, you need to get real speaking practice and contact with the language that mimics real-life use.
That’s why we recommend learning with regular lessons with a native English tutor. With a 1-on-1 English tutor, you’ll be able to start speaking English from your first lesson. You’ll also have someone who can offer you resources and tips to improve every day. With someone to guide you and expose you to the language, you’ll see progress in no time.
Interested in corporate language training with your team? Check out Preply Enterprise!
There’s no doubt the English language is important in many different ways. However, everyone has their own reasons to learn English — such as a career goal or the ability to speak with a loved one in their language.
Whatever your reason is for learning this international language, the most important thing is to keep your goal in mind and practice regularly. Only then will you start to see the incredible advantages that the English language has to offer.
Why is English important in today's world?
English is considered the global language of business, science, and communication. It is spoken by over 1.5 billion people worldwide, making it the most widely spoken language. As such, it has become the lingua franca of international relations, diplomacy, and commerce.
Why is English important for technological advancement?
English is the language of the technology industry, with many of the most innovative and successful companies based in English-speaking countries. Being proficient in English is essential for anyone working in technology, as it enables them to communicate with colleagues, understand technical specifications, and stay up-to-date with industry developments.
Can learning English improve my chances of getting a job?
Yes, definitely. English is the language of international business, and many employers require fluency in English for positions that involve communication with global clients or colleagues. Being proficient in English can make you a more competitive candidate for jobs in a variety of fields, including technology, finance, marketing, and hospitality.
It is the language of science, aviation, computers, diplomacy and tourism. Last but not least, it is the language of international communication, the media and the internet. Whether it is for professional or personal reasons, understanding the importance of English will help you reach your goals.Why is English important 500 words? ›
English is the medium of many exam papers worldwide. Primarily, English breaks the language barrier between different countries and gives access to meet new people, communicate with them and understand their cultures and heritages. Also, it is the medium to grow business companies at International levels.Is English the most important language to know in the world today? ›
English is one definitely one of the most important languages to learn in 2021 and beyond. It is used in global business, worldwide travel, diplomatic affairs, and in computer technology. Not only that, but many of the top global economies are English-speaking ones — the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK.
Learning English in the USA is valuable, because English is one of the most common languages spoken in the world. It is the official language of over 50 countries and many others use it as their second language, so wherever you go, you'll likely be able to communicate in English!Why English is important in our life essay? ›
English has been regarded as the first global Lingua Franca. It has become part and parcel of almost every existing field. We use it as the international language to communicate in many fields ranging from business to entertainment. Many countries teach and encourage youngsters to acquire English as a second language.Why is the English language so great? ›
It is a huge entity of vocabulary and is constantly absorbing new words, whilst at the same time seeping into foreign languages. English contains over 750,000 words. With so many different words available to describe things, you should never be short of synonyms.Why is English important 10 lines? ›
10 Lines On The Importance Of English Language For Kids
It is the official language of communication of many countries, including India, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, and many countries in Africa, etc. Around two billion people use the English language one way or the other worldwide.
English is the only language that is spoken worldwide and is acceptable in almost every corner of this world. Learning English makes it easier for us to travel in any corner of the world and avoid oneself from the challenges put in while communicating with the localities.When did English become the most important language? ›
English became a global language during the 17th century when England established colonies around the world and began trading with other countries. The British Empire's expansion in the 19th and early 20th centuries further spread the use of English as a global language.Why English is important for students in 150 words? ›
Essay On Importance Of English Language 150 Words
The English language has become one of the world's most important international languages. English is the language of most transactions, conversations, legal documents, official communication, documentation, laws, books, education, and even the computer interface.
If you know 1,000 words, you will be between a functional beginner and conversational level in English. In most of the world's languages, 500 words will be more than enough to get you through any tourist situations and everyday introductions.Is 5000 words enough to speak English? ›
Generally speaking, knowing an average of 2000-3000 words should be enough for everyday conversations and basic understanding (A2-B1 level). To become proficient in English, you need a vocabulary of about 5000+ words.