PUBLISHED, FORMATTED & ANNOTATED BY KENNETH S. DOIG
English language, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family that is closely related to Frisian, German, and Dutch languages. English originated in England and is now widely spoken on six continents.
It is the primary language of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and various small island nations in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is also an official language of India, the Philippines, Singapore, and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.
English is the first choice of foreign language in most other countries of the world, and it is this status that has given it the position of a global lingua franca. It is estimated that a third of the world’s population, some two billion persons, now use English.