Información y curiosidades sobre el inglés
En el artículo de hoy descubriremos varios hechos y curiosidades sobre el inglés, desde sus orígenes hasta su uso en la actualidad. También indagaremos en los países en los que se habla inglés y en la cantidad de términos del diccionario Oxford.
· English originated about 1,500 years ago when the Jutes, Angles and Saxons began arriving in Great Britain. They spoke a language closely related to German which became known as Old English. The most famous texts from this stage of English were the History of the Venerable Bede and the epic Beowulf. Five hundred years later in 1066, England was conquered by new invaders from Normandy in France, and in the years that followed, Norman French exercised a strong influence on the development of English, which then became known as Middle English. Famous examples of this type of English are The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and the anonymous poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. When the Renaissance arrived, English had evolved again and Shakespeare was born. The type of English still used today, Modern English, dates from around Shakespeare’s time, and it was the ‘Bard’ himself who introduced 1,700 new words into the language during his lifetime!
· According to David Crystal, English is spoken as a mother tongue by at least 375 million people in the world. Apart from the United Kingdom and the United States, English is the official language in Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, the Channel Islands, Kenya, Nigeria, India and Pakistan. The most accepted forms of English in the world today are “Received Pronunciation” (from England) and “General American” (from the United States) but there are hundreds of other dialects both in these countries and in all the others. More than 375 people use English as a second language every day all over the world.
· There are now estimated to be around 1 billion people learning English around the world. Of these, 700,000 visit the UK to learn English each year. The Western European countries with the highest standard of spoken English are Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. The Western European countries with the lowest standard of spoken English are Spain, Italy and Portugal.
· English is particularly important in the worlds of business; science; technology; tourism; arts; politics; economics; entertainment and engineering.
· The Oxford English Dictionary lists 615,000 words versus the 283,000 of Spanish and about 150,000 in German. There are estimated to be around 3,000 currently used phrasal verbs in Standard English today. English has between forty-four and fifty-two sounds, one of the highest numbers of any language, compared with twenty-four in Spanish. This of course can make some of the pronunciation a little tricky for beginners! For example, Spanish has 5 pure vowel sounds and 8 diphthongs (a diphthong combines two vowel sounds in a single syllable). English has 12 pure vowel sounds and 8 diphthongs. In addition to the sounds, many students find the spelling of English words to be problematic, although in this case most native speakers would probably agree with them. Whether learner or native, the best way to learn English spelling is to memorize the spelling of each word.