English: A Language That’s Yours Mine’s and Everybody’s

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English Language Day
Image Credits: India Today

The father of the English language and more specifically, literature, William Shakespeare is believed to be born on the 23rd April. The English Language Day thus was established by the United Nations to mark and celebrate the birth of this legend. William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright who today stands to be the greatest writer of all times. He has written plays, short and long poems and verses. Romeo Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, Merchant of Venice, Othello, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, etc. are some of the most famous plays written by him.

The English Language Day, however, was also created to promote multilingualism. The United Nations has six official languages, one being English. To celebrate these and encourage equal use of each language, the UN created a language day for each language. The first English Language Day was celebrated in the year 2010 in the UN headquarters in New York.

A language that was initially recognized and spoken only by three tribes around 1,500 years ago is now a global language. Communicating with the world today will seem impossible without this language. All the important global communications happen in English. Right from being the language of international business to being the language of the internet, English is highly prevalent.

English was first said to be originated in the United Kingdom when three Germanic tribes, namely the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. English today is not just spoken in the UK but is also widely spoken and used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, and many more.

The world has around two billion people who speak the language. Out of these, there are around 360-400 million native English language speakers across the globe. English is a language that undergoes changes very frequently and keeps evolving. The Oxford dictionary adds an approximate of 1000 new words every single year to its collection of words.  

Being a global language, it becomes necessary for all to have a sound understanding of English. Our world has had some of the greatest English writers and poets like William Shakespeare, Emily Dickenson, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, etc. who massively shaped the language and developed impressive pieces of literature that we till date continue to read and study by including them in our curriculum.