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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today's amazing statistic: half have knowledge of English

“According to the British Council, backed by many other reliable sources, about half the world's population – 3.5 billion people – have knowledge of, or acquaintance with, "some kind of English".”




Of course, this number will depend on what qualifies as “some kind of English”, but it’s still amazing.


Much of this spread was imperial – either in terms of the British empire or American media or computerization. But it’s still interesting given the fact that English is not really a great language. Off the top of my head:




Spelling is both nonstandard and somewhat illogical.

Pronunciation are both nonstandard and somewhat illogical.

Lots of unrelated synonyms reflecting work origins in Anglo-Saxon/German and French/Latin.





Uses an alphabet with a small number of symbols.

Does not use tonality.

Does not have a central authority governing usage, so anybody can add a word.

Nouns don’t have sex.



1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:23 PM

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