Believe it or not, English is the most spoken language in the world among native and nonnative speakers. Surprisingly, Viewpoint: The Silencing of ESL Speakers states “…More than 1.5 billion people speak English, but about 75% are nonnative speakers.” (https://bit.ly/30LtAPs). That means around 1.125 billion people speak English as their second or third language.
So how did English become the “universal language” and not some other language with more native speakers like Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, or Hindi?
This long and oversimplified answer begins with the British Empire. Before their colonizing, settling in, and conquering foreign lands, the British only spoke English. However, the language soon caught on with the natives of these foreign lands for trading and, later on, education.
English became the face of education, the language became known as an “elitist language of sorts, spoken by those who were educated in literature, philosophy and poetry…” (https://bit.ly/3rTt5ie).
Despite this, English did not become as widespread as it is now until after World War II when American businesses were booming. American culture spread worldwide with recent advancements made in music (jazz and rock ‘n roll), Hollywood, and entertainment in general. This linked English with American and European prosperity. Suddenly, everything became mainly English: books, songs, and movies.
Also, since the internet was created in the US, it was only natural the most prevalent online language would be English.
To celebrate English Language Month, read a book written in English, a movie spoken in English, or listen to music sung in English.