Around 400 million people speak English. Geographically, English is the most widespread language on earth, and it is second only to Chinese in the number of people who speak it. Only a few million people spoke English in Shakespeare’s time. Today, English is represented in every continent and in the three main oceans — the Atlantic, the Indian and the Pacific. English is probably the most insatiable borrower. Scientists say that the average vocabulary of a native speaker is 5,000 words. William Shakespeare, however, used 30,000 words!
People have long been interested in having one language that could be spoken throughout the world. Such a language would help to increase cultural and economic ties and simplify communication between people. Through the years, at least 600 universal languages have been proposed, including Esperanto. About 10 million people have learned Esperanto since its creation in 1887, but English, according to specialists, has better chances to become a global language.