This was the question I was asked this week.
Those people who are living in the countries which were British colonies or American colonies can speak English. That means more than 400 million of the world’s population speak English as their native language. English is also very wide learned as a foreign language – often to a high standard.
People might be amazed to learn that there are more English speaking people in China than in the United States of America!
So why do so many of us speak English?
Well one of the main reasons is English is a West Germanic language that originated in Anglo-Saxon England. As a result of the military, economic, scientific, political, and cultural influence of the British Empire during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries and of the United States since the mid 20th century,it has become the lingua franca in many parts of the world. It is used extensively as a second language and as an official language in Commonwealth countries and many international organisations.
A lingua franca (from Italian, literally meaning Frankish language) is a language systematically used to communicate between persons not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both persons’ mother tongues.