English is the mother tongue of over 450 million people. Almost half of them live in the U.S.A. Over 500 million people speak English as a second language. When we come to consider English as a foreign language, the number of speakers is pure guesswork. Even in the Western Europe there are no reliable statistics. However we do know, that virtually all educated people in the Scandinavian countries and Holland speak English. They learn the language simply to communicate with each other. For example Danish speak with their relations in other countries or Poles write to their pen friends in Japan in English. Another reason which makes English very important in modern world is that most of the world business is done in that language. Many companies require their employees to know English at a communicative level. Worth mentioning is that most of the world scientific communication is done in English as well. Many of the universities require their graduates to speak English fluently. The other things, which contribute to rising popularity of English, are media. “Surfing” the Internet requires you to know at least the basics of English. However if you want to use the information and possibilities, which are given by the web effectively, you have to know the language at a reasonable level. The same situation is with the television, radio and newspapers. If you want to make use of all of the information, entertainment and knowledge, which nowadays is easily accessible thanks to the modern techniques, you need to know English.
Why English not any other language has become the international one? What rivals does English have for the position of number one in the world? In a word, none. Although Chinese has a greater number of native speakers it is too complicated to learn and use. Besides it is popular only in certain area – China, and there are too many different dialects, which differ one from another too much. English does not have any European rivals as well. Spanish for example has 360 million speakers, but none of the Spanish-speaking countries is of great importance as global power. There have been many attempts to make an artificial language, which would cover the role of worldwide one, but with no important successes (although Esperanto has 12 million speakers it is rather hard to meet someone who is speaking that language in everyday life).
Due to the above we can be sure that English will remain an international language for a long time.
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