English is considered, unofficially, as the world’s language because it is used widely; in aviation, in business, on social media and on the Internet.
The United Nations (UN) spearheaded the establishment of the first English Language Day, which was on April 23, 2010. A few years back, the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the United Nations created a Language Day for each of the official languages of the UN – English, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese and Arabic.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) has live Q&A chat on Facebook on this day, aimed at students who are interested in the English language and what the TOEFL test is all about. Voice of America (VOA) has podcasts and other learning materials for those interested in learning American English, including stories, news and grammar.
In many regions in the world, people celebrate English Language Day in their own way. On the other hand, there are people who laud the language by sharing important facts about it. Aside from being a great writer, Shakespeare in fact invented a lot of the English words that he used in his plays, most of which are still in use today. Here are some more:
- The oldest words in the English language are “I,” “we” and the long forms, “two” and “three” according to the researchers of Reading University.
- The English language that we know and use today stemmed from the mix, alterations, misspellings, misinterpretations, inventions, borrowings and corruptions of Anglo-Norman, Old Norse and Old High German languages.
- Although English only ranks third in the number of speakers, there are 79 countries where it is the official language and it is spoken in 101 countries, compared to Chinese which is spoken in only 33 countries while Spanish is spoken in 31 countries.
- Many scholars consider English as the most influential language in the world because of the number of speakers and the number of countries where the language is spoken. On the other hand the Global Language Network study found out that English is a globally-important language not because of the number of speakers but because it is capable of connecting speakers of other languages.
The use of the English language is so widespread that it is almost taken for granted. Having a day of its own shows how much English is appreciated for its rich history, for its impact on world culture, its language connectivity and its importance on an international level.