BRITISH EMPIRE AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
spread of English around the world is closely connected to the development of
the British empire. British settlers, soldiers, merchant and administrators
carried their language to every continent.
first colony was Ireland, which was completely conquered by the middle of the 71th
century. The British then took control of north America and the Caribbean, India
and Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand and large areas of Africa. They also
controlled strategic Island and ports in almost every corner of the world from
Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus. In the Mediterranean to Hong Kong and Singapore in
the Pacific region. Even though the United States broke away after 1776, by 1918
about one quarter of the world was under the British empire. This area
corresponds very closely to the country where English is now spoken as a first
or second language.
the Second world War nearly all of this territories became independent but most
of then have kept their links whit Britain and the other ex-colonies by becoming
members of the British Commonwealth.
All though English became a world language through the British empire, its continuing importance in the world today is mainly because of the enormous influence of the USA in commerce, technology, entertainments, scientific research, travel and tourism and many other fields the predominant language is now English. If, for example, German, Japanese and Brazilian scientists meet at an international conference they will probably communicate in English.