English Around The World
Do you speak English? That question is frequently asked in countries around the world. Although there are almost 3,000 languages, English is the most universal. It is the official language in over 40 countries and the most used language in international business, science, and medicine. Even in countries where English is not the first language, a number of English words are used. No other language is borrowed how more often than English. For example, a French worker looks forward to le weekend. A Romanian shopper catches a ride on the trolleybus. A Chinese businessperson talks on the te le fung (telephone). Some Swedish schoolgirls have even started making the plural forms of words by adding-s, as in English, instead of the Swedish way of adding –ar, -or, or –er. Hundreds of words borrowed from English can now be found in other languages. Some of these words are soda, hotel, golf, tennis, jeans, O.K, baseball, and airport. Although many words are used just as they are, others are changed to make them more like the native language and therefore easier to say and remember. Thus, a Japanese worker gets stuck in rushawa (rush-hour) traffic. A Spanish mother tells her child to put on her sueter (sweater), and a Ukrainian man goes to the barber for a herkor (haircut). English is everywhere. It is on signs, clothing, soft drinks, and household products around the world. In spite of the popularity of English words and phrases, however, they are not always welcome. Some people think that the used of English words is threatening the purity of their native language. In 1975, the French started a commission to try to stop, and even give fines for, the use of English words. Some countries have tried to eliminate English as their official language in order to save their native tongue. On the other hand, some people believe that English should be the international language. They give a number of reasons for this, such as the cost of translations and the...
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