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There are far more non-native speakers of English in the world today than native speakers. About 350 million speak it as their mother tongue, whereas it is thought that around 1.5 billion speak it as a second or foreign language.
It is believed that around 80% of data on world's computers is stored in English.
It has been estimated that about 20,000 English words spread into other languages every year.
Special simplified forms of English exist to help various professions to communicate internationally, for example 'air-speak' for pilots and air-traffic controllers; 'police-speak' to help deal with international crime, and 'doctor-speak' to simplify communication between doctors.
The grammar and vocabulary used by native speakers varies a lot, even in the UK. In some local accents people say 'we was' or 'they was'; a few kilometres away, they say 'he were' and 'she were'.
Modern British people probably wouldn't have been able to understand the English spoken in Shakespeare's time. Many words had different meanings, for example, 'nice' meant 'foolish' in the sixteenth century!
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