Today is April 23rd. It’s also English Language Day! In 2010, the United Nations created language days for each of their six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Their goal is to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity. April 23rd was chosen for English Language Day because it is the birthday of William Shakespeare. At LinguaLinx, we love languages. Words are our business, and our passion. Let’s take a moment and celebrate English!
There are 360 million native speakers of English in the world, making it the 3rd most widely spoken. English is the official language in 67 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities. A lot of this is due to the former British Empire. English does not have official status in the United States (there is no official language in the United States). Due to its status as “The Language of Business,” English is learned by many worldwide as a second language.
Ten Fast Facts about the English Language:
- There is no word in the English language that rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.
- English is the official language of the sky – all pilots speak in English on international flights.
- “E” is the most commonly used letter in the English language.
- Nigeria has more English speakers than the United Kingdom.
- There are 24 different dialects of English in the United States.
- “Pronunciation” is the most mispronounced English word.
- The word “checkmate” in chess comes from an Arabic phrase, “shah mat”, which means “the king is helpless.”
- More words start with “S” than any other letter.
- Eighty-nine percent of people in Sweden speak English.
- Two of the shortest completed sentences in the English language are “Go.” and “I am.”
Now that you have some random knowledge to wow your friends and use for Trivia Nights, go forth and love your language!