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Great Britain and its language


English is one of the most widely used languages in the world. Recent estimates suggest that over 337 million people speak English as their first language, with possibly some 350 million speaking it as a second language. America has the largest number of English speakers - over 226 million speak the language as a mother tongue. Some 3,000 English newspapers are published throughout India where English is an official language alongside Hindi.

English is also the favoured language of international commerce. Over 80 per cent of the world's electronically stored information is in English and two-thirds of the world's scientists read in English. English is an official language, or has a special status, in over 75 of the world's territories.

If the rest of the world is not talking English, they are borrowing English words to add to their own language: the Japanese go on a "pikunikku" (picnic), Italians programme their computers with "il software", Germans talk about "ein Image-Problem" and "das Cashflow" and Czechs say "ahoy!" for "hello" - a greeting traditionally used by English sailors, which is interesting as the Czech Republic has no sea coast.

Why are many English words pronounced differently from the way they are spelt?

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You voted 3. Total votes: 112