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This text deals with …
1. Taking English abroad.
2. The rise of America.
3. The French influence.
4. The expansion of learning.
5. Orthographic difference.
6. The global language.
A. A billion people speak English, two-thirds of the world’s scientists write in English, and 85 per cent of the world’s electronic information is stored in English. One result is that the British are terribly lazy about learning other languages. The reasons for the popularity of English are either lost in history, or something to do with the superpower on the other side of the Atlantic.
B. English has many similarities with Romance languages, whose origin is Latin. The words like government, parliament, court, legal, army, crown, state, country, power, and people came to England with the French-speaking Normans. Notice that the word:, are associated with power: Norman-French was used as the language of government. Words of Latin origin are usually longer than words of Germanic origin.
C. The period from the Renaissance to the present day has seen many new ideas and inventions, especially in science and technology. As new things are invented, new words have to be created. Often these new words are created from existing Greek or Latin words put together in new ways. There are now thousands of such words in English. Just think of telephone, television, microscope, and thermometer.
D. Today, there are some differences in vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation between American and British English. Sometimes, the difference in spelling is because Americans wanted to make things simpler, so that a word would be spelled the way it is pronounced. Noah Webster, founder of one of the most famous American English dictionaries, decided to eliminate from a won I any letters that were not pronounced (honor — honour, theater — theatre).
E. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, British navigators sailed across the seas with the aim of extending Britain’s power and prosperity. They colonized new territories around the world, taking their language with them. In many cast the process of bringing ‘civilisation’ to the existing peoples of these lands was accompanied by cruelty and injustice.
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