People

English: The Universal Language

  • February 10, 2018
  • 2-Minute Read

In 2017 the ten most spoken languages on the Internet — written on websites, comments, among other things — were as follows:

  1. English — 51.2% (yes, fifty one)
  2. Russian — 6.7%
  3. Japanese — 5.6%
  4. German — 5.6%
  5. Spanish — 5.1%
  6. French — 4.1%
  7. Portuguese — 2.6%
  8. Italian — 2.4%
  9. Chinese — 2.0%
  10. Polish — 1.7%

However, the ten most spoken languages in the real world by total number of speakers were as follows:

  1. Chinese — 14.3%
  2. English — 12.9%
  3. Hindi — 7.1%
  4. Spanish — 6.9%
  5. Arabic — 5.5%
  6. Malay — 3.6%
  7. Russian — 3.5%
  8. Bengali — 3.4%
  9. Portuguese — 3.0%
  10. French — 3.0%

Different aren't they? So, what's wrong?

Either everybody has a 50% chance of randomly being possessed by an English-speaking ghost when they write in comments and articles on the Internet, or a fairly significant chunk of native speakers, from the most diverse cultures, are choosing to use English to communicate with people from other cultures.

Why English? Because of some factors:

  • Firstly, it sounds quite good;
  • It is fairly easy to learn;
  • It can be a very concise and functional language — more vocabulary, smaller words, more compact sentences;
  • It is the technological language of the world — computers run on code compiled from programming languages that are subsets of English and most technological powerhouses of the world use mainly English;
  • It is already very easy to get immersed in the English culture given that half of the Internet already uses the English language;
  • There is a huge cultural pressure emanating from countries that speak English thanks to Hollywood, YouTube and even books.

Well, if you speak English as a second language, you must have realized that English makes your life easier and more fun too.

And even though English is fairly easy to get into, it is one of the hardest to master, there is just so much depth.

The secret is to not stop learning and growing.

If you are a native speaker please know that you are very lucky to speak a language that so many people love and cherish.

When you find yourself in a position to encourage people to learn English, please do so, and try to make it a fun experience.