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Information on the English Language

This page is intended to give some background information on English.
This information might be useful for motivating students or for research.

Number of English speakers with Internet Access: 220 million

Number of non-English speakers with Internet Access: 293 million

English has official or special status in at least 75 countries with a total population of over 2 billion.

English is spoken as a first language by around 375 million and as a second language by around 375 million speakers in the world. Speakers of English as a second language will soon outnumber those who speak it as a first language. Around 750 million people are believed to speak English as a foreign language.

One out of four of the world's population speak English to some level of competence. Demand from the other three-quarters is increasing.

English is the main language of books, newspapers, airports and air-traffic control, international business and academic conferences, science, technology, diplomacy, sport, international competitions, pop music and advertising

Over two-thirds of the world's scientists read in English

Three quarters of the world's mail is written in English.

80 per cent of the world's electronically stored information is in English

Of the estimated forty million users of the Internet, some eighty per cent communicate in English, but this is expected to decrease to forty per cent as speakers of other languages get online.

By the year 2000 it is estimated that over one billion people will be learning English.

Of all the world's languages (over 2,700) English is arguably the richest in vocabulary; and that the Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500,000 words, and a further half-million technical and scientific terms remain uncatalogued?

5 of the largest broadcasting companies in the world (CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC and CBC) transmit in English, reaching millions and millions of people all over the world?