English Language Facts

statistics about English language

My “facts” are taken from different sources all over the Internet. Many of them may be slightly outdated, because my sources were published in different years and all of these statistics change all the time. But I think that many of them are changing for the benefit of the English language.
English is the native language for about 380 millions of people.
English has the richest vocabulary compared to all the other languages in the world. There are 500,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, and there are about similar number of words, mainly technical terms still uncatalogued.
Three-quarters of all e-mails in the world are written in English.
More that half of scientific and technical periodicals are in English.
About 80% of data stored on computers all over the world is in English.
About 89% of schoolchildren in the European Union are learning English as a foreign language.

I searched for quite long on the Internet for information about the number of English learners in the world and I didn’t find the amount of current ones. The most frequently cited and reliable information was published on the British Council website. According to this information over 1 billion people were learning English in 2000. It is so outdated. I find some predictions that in last decade this number should have been doubled. So it is possible that there are 2 billion people learning English now. But this is only a presumption and I found other theories that said that 2 billion people will be learning English in 2020.

So there is a lot of information on English on the Internet, but not enough (or the information is too buried on the web).

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3 comments
  1. You are so right! Information really does get buried in piles of similar information when it comes to the internet. As an increasingly accessible tool for obtaining facts, the internet has also become an increasingly accessible tool for giving them. Anyone who is an expert at anything can offer that knowledge. That’s a great thing. However, anyone who is not an expert can also do the same thing. There is plenty of reputable info out there. Sometimes it’s just lodged between the ads and the false data. So, everything taken with a grain of salt, as they say.

    Oh, and I did a cursory search for English-learner data after I read your post, and the most recent information I came across was also from 2000. If you ever need U.S.-specific data on the subject, you could check out the U.S. Census site. It will be more up to date; they just took the census in 2010.

    • Lotokot said:

      Thank you for your comment and the information.

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