English is the third largest native language and the most learned second language in the world. It is an official language in many countries and an official language of the UN. It is from the West Germanic language group (which includes Dutch and German) with important influences from other languages including French, Latin and Greek.
Interestingly, the Campaign for Plain English advises British English speakers to avoid words with Latin roots (e.g. require, reduce, participate, obtain) and replace them with equivalent words from Anglo-Saxon roots (need, cut, join in, get) as they are perceived as simpler and less pretentious, despite having the same meaning.
Studies of the Oxford English Corpus have seen claims stating that the 100 most commonly used words in English make up about 50% of all written text in the language. If true, it could mean that English is very easy to learn, at least at a basic level.
Most native English speakers are united through language and culture, and divided through sport.
Vocabulary and spelling differ from one English speaking country to the next. Despite this, English speakers are largely able to understand each other as the differences are well documented and understood. Indeed, after the USA and the UK, the 3rd largest volume of books in English is published in India, where despite being an official language, it is rarely spoken as a first language.
It is thus of great annoyance to all English speakers that none of them are able to claim they speak the correct version.
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