English Language Facts

English is a widely spoken and popular language that fascinates many people around the world for various reasons. There are many things about English that many would not realize and be surprised about overall.

If you look historically, English has been developing for over 1,400 years changing and growing quickly. Some may be interested in English for business reasons, science, work reasons or history.

Over 1.6 billion speak English in the world and the number is growing quickly.

Over 1.6 billion speak English

By 2018, exactly 1.53 billion people spoke English as a main or business language. If you were to think about this mathematically then it is around 1 in 7 people on Earth that speaks English. Now, this statistic means that this amount of people speak English in some way, which could be for personal reasons or for business purposes.

In the world, the population of people who speak English as a first language is somewhere between 340 and 360 million people. However, more people speak English as a second language. In terms of English-speaking countries there is only the United States and the United Kingdom with large populations, still totaling less than 400 million in the world! The amount of future English speakers is growing quickly.

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Legendary author William Shakespeare added 1,700 words to the English language.

William Shakespeare

This seminal author who is claimed to have been from London, England, or some say even the pre-Italian states, is credited with greatly influencing the English language. Why? Shakespeare himself may have invented as many words ranging from adjectives to conjunctions, verbs, andmore. For example, certain words like Critic from his work, “Love’s Labour Lost,” or Elbow, first used as a verb, from “King Lear.”

Shakespeare changed the use of common and typical words by changing nouns into verbs, or transforming verbs into adjectives. Or perhaps even connecting words never used ever in a sentence together. Some of the more popular and often used English words are the following

from Shakespeare like lonely, unaware, unreal, uncomfortable, dwindle, Assassination, addiction, and critic.

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In terms of law and the constitution, English is not the common language of the United States.

United States law

Despite English not being an official language, most Americans in the USA speak English. There is an estimated 300 million that speak English despite there being no official language. Many may be surprised that the Constitution or any federal law does not specify any law about the issue of English being an official language. Moreover, anyone claiming you need to speak English in “America” or the “USA” is wrong.

Historically, there has been a tradition of many people in the USA and this land speaking languages other than English that predates the founding of the republic. However, English has been the dominant language of the United States, but the founding fathers did not want to

offend fellow Americans who helped fight for independence from England. Other languages spoken in the USA ranged from hundreds of native American languages to Spanish and more.

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Hundreds of words are added to the English Language

Hundreds of words are added

Every year, English gains hundreds of new words and phrases. The average amount of words added to English average about 550 words a year. According to the Global Language Monitor, English adds about two words per day to the language.

All in all, there are more than a million words in the English language, so the language is unique in the world. Moreover, there are many words that are much more commonly used in written bodies of work rather than in the spoken language.

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The letter “S” begins the most English words compared to any other letter in the alphabet.

letter “S’‘

In general, the common occurrence of the letter “S” in English means that this is a very important consonant to learn. The reason why so many words begin with “S” is due to the reason of spelling and word formations. Moreover, there are many words with the common spelling cluster of SC, SH, SP, ST, and more.

The letter ‘x’ is on the opposite end and is the least used word to begin a word in English. As well, the letter “X” is the least used in all of English.

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English is spoken by more people as a second language in the world than those who are not native speakers.


It is estimated that there are about 750 million people who learn and speak English as a foreign language. And then another 375 million people who speak English as an active second language. The surprising truth is that more people in the world learn English as a second language than there are native English speakers.

The massive amount of speakers of English, who are non-native, has created a big push for English education around the world. At the moment, there is an estimate of about 1.5 billion English language learners worldwide and the number keeps growing constantly.

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In English, in terms of grammar and structure the shortest, oldest, and often used word is “I”.

Letter I

Historically, it has been shown that English has a variety of origins. English has developed in 1,400 years in Europe and was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century. The first version of “English” was collectively called Old English.

The word “I’ was discovered in medieval manuscripts dating from the 4th or 5th century. Thus, some of the oldest words to be known in English are “I,” “we,” “two,” and “three.” Therefore, this makes “I” one of the shortest and oldest words in the English overall.

Also, “I” is as well the most commonly used word in English speech and conversations. In terms of research done in 2009 from the British school, Reading University. In terms of the history of the language, the oldest word in the English language is agreed to be “I“, which dates back tens of thousands of years.

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In Science, English is the most commonly used by far for research and papers.

English is the most commonly used

Overall, English is the most commonly used and popular language in the sciences. However, Newton wrote papers in Latin, originally based in Rome, before English the language of choice in science and research. For the last 70 years or so, a lot of scientific research has been published in English.

If you go to many countries around the world from Germany to the Netherlands and more you will find more published English material than in their own language. A statistic found that 80 percent of scientific papers and research was written entirely in English.

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The word “Set” is most often seen as the most complicated world to use in English.

The word “Set”

The word “Set” has many meanings and interpretations that by far outnumber any other word in the language. This simple word “Set” has more definitions than any other English word.

This short word has over 430 definitions and needs at least a 60,000-word definition. The complete definition of this word would cover at least or more than 24 pages in most dictionaries.

Here are some definitions of “Set,” which number more than 400. First, “set” can be defined as the act or action of setting, things of the same kind that belong, or mental inclination or habit. Please note this is just three of hundreds of definitions of “Set.”

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In English, the longest word in the English language has 45 letters.


In English, the longest word is much longer than many realize. There is a word that has forty-five letters, the word is ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

This very long English word is a reference to a lung disease that is caused by inhalation of fine silica dust. Moreover, the second longest word in the English language at the moment is ‘Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.’ With much humor and irony, the second longest English ‘Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia’ means the fear of long words.

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The language of the skies and the air is English

Aviation globally

If you fly anywhere in the world, the language you will hear anywhere from the North Pole to Asia to Antarctica is English. All in all, English is the language of the skies for pilots in every country.

The language of aviation globally is English. The rule of international law and guidelines would mean that pilots and air traffic controllers should demonstrate and show an understanding and command to have the ability to speak and understand English.

The authority for flying in the world, ICAO, had published lists of words and phrases that all pilots and air traffic controllers should know including directions on how to get the right pronunciation.

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In total, 80% of all words that are on all computers in the world are English.


Overall, if you evaluate English it is easily the most commonly used language on the Internet. Moreover, as anyone in tech can attest English is also the language used by most programming languages like Java. This means that most codes are written utilizing English-language commands.

Author: Jay Garr

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