Talk:English language

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Former good article English language was one of the Language and literature good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for English language:

Broken External Link to "The Global English Survey Project"[edit]

The last External Link "The Global English Survey Project - A survey tracking how non-native speakers around the world use English", is broken. Page no longer exists. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.234.35.247 (talkcontribs) 16:25, 17 July 2009

numbers[edit]

for l2 there are about 100million too low according to ethnologue http://www.ethnologue.com/language/eng also ethnologue has a scale for how widely a lanhuage is used can that be adapted in.

"Population 55,600,000 in United Kingdom (ELDIA 2012). Population total all countries: 335,148,868. L2 users: 1,500,000 in United Kingdom (Crystal 2003). L2 users worldwide: 505,000,000." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 223.205.148.141 (talk) 23:19, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

"A" vs "the"[edit]

Colleagues, on another language page, an editor insists on starting the sentence with "X is the langage" instead of the usual "X is a language. I used English language as an example - surely this is a high-visibility page, with thousands of edits, by now someone would have seen if the construction is wrong. It starts with "English is a West Germanic language". I pointed out that "a language"/ "a dialect" is the way we speak about languages." The editor in question insists that this is wrong and that on this page it should read "English is the West Germanic language". I am not getting through to this editor. Your opinions are welcome. Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 11:09, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

English is only one of several West Germanic languages so "a" is correct. Only if "English" and "West Germanic" were exact synonyms (if English was the only West Germanic language) "the" would be correct. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 12:00, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Roger. The editor's reasoning is based on the second part of the sentence "first spoken in early medieval England and is now a global lingua franca" - that there is only one such language first spoken and now global. on the face of it, the editor is 'correct', but these are two separate statements, which he/ she is not grasping. Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 12:18, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
"English is the West Germanic language + postqualifier—that would undesirably shift the "news" of the clause to "English is that West Germanic language ... the one that was first spoken in ...". But where it first spoken is not the "news", and is not used to directly distinguish English from the West Germanic languages that weren't first spoken there and are now not lingua francas. Tony (talk) 13:40, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 25 May 2014[edit]

125.209.81.74 (talk) 18:54, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 19:09, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

15.5M Australian English Speakers?[edit]

The number of English speakers in Australia is stated to be 15.5 million, with an utterly ridiculous disclaimer that people who speak a language in addition to English are not native English speakers. This is not at all supported by the provided source. Worse, this figure is then used elsewhere, without any disclaimer at all. Anybody who identifies themselves as not just English speaking, but even speaking English at home, is so clearly an "English Speaker" that I cannot fathom how this could be misinterpreted. 166.137.208.24 (talk) 08:07, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

15.5M sounds about right to me, given that almost half the population was not born in the country, and more than half of them came from non-anglophone countries. Tony (talk) 03:45, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

English in the 5th Century IMPOSSIBLE and here is why below!.[edit]

All you do is tell your lies here. Engish language did not exist until the Norman's( Orginally a tribe from Scandinavia) brought it over from present day France over sometime in the late 13th century. Facts are 1. German language did not exist until 8th century!. Why see ptolemy's maps from 2nd century AD, Germania (Mostly Roman, Christians and where latin speakers and writers, and Germania Manga which includes the area's of Schleswig-Holstein ( East and northern side, Non Christians, most likey did not speak latin). Charlemange was note: First German king in mid 8th century who started the use of the German language see Monk "Abogran". So how could these Anglo Saxon mythical tribes speak OLD ENGLISH when the German language did not exist in the 5th century its IMPOSSIBLE!. Attila the hun also traveled up the Danube and then the Rhine and was killed in Gaul (France) no where near the Angles. No Huns made it that far ever, And the later Avars around the 8th and 9th century had bases in Hungary and Bulgaria. Mongols in the 13th century also never made it to Schleswig-Holstein area. Please supply some artifacts some copies of the actual documents from 1000-1500 years ago. And shame me in front of the whole world. Also the slavic tribes see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limes_Saxoniae. Arrived in 9th century but yes all the Germanic and Germans tribes left for Britannia in the 5th century AD. My history is not the best but I believe only two unarmed Saxon tribes arrived by ship in the city of present day Wessex around 460,470AD but Saxony is near Czech Republic?. All English old documents like the dooms day book 1066, Bede the Monk, as example are in latin, all your churches before say the 16th century where all christian and later Catholic. I could go and on but you really should know better. OLD ENGLISH. Thou shall be quite now. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=germania+magna&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=VYZ5U5ziGcnikAWAsoG4DQ&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=684#q=magna+germania&spell=1&tbm=isch https://www.google.com.au/#q=britannia+latin+cities+names http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_place_names_in_Britain ROMANS spoke and wrote in latin. SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN WAS IN GERMANY MANGA they where not Christens like you!. OLD ENGLISH is mostly a latin based language — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.80.98.184 (talk) 16:35, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

"My history is not the best..." sums it up. What you, or I, believe is irrelevant. We summarise what reliable published sources say. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:48, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject English[edit]

I have boldly planted a seed that I hope might grow into a WikiProject about the English language. Please see Draft:WikiProject English and feel free to add to it. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 12:54, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

430 million native speakers, really?[edit]

The Swedish Nationalencyklopedin 2010 gives a total of 360 million native English speakers. Other older sources give 330 million. The number of 430 L1 (L1 = native language) speakers is exaggerated. I don't think the source is reliable.Ernio48 (talk) 23:57, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Interesting that you are consulting a Swedish encyclopedia for information on the English language! I agree the source in the article is not reliable; it is very lightweight and the information appears to be user submitted. There is also no hint where the site sourced the information from. My copy of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language gives L1: 300-350 million and L2: 700-1,400 million in the appendix. The range is due to different estimates in different sources, but the author consistently uses the higher figures in the body of the book. I think this is a good scholarly source, especially as he has compiled the figures from a large number of sources (thus helping us to avoid the problems of using a WP:PRIMARY source). However, my copy is quite old and there is a new edition. I will compare the figures next time I go to the library before updating the article. SpinningSpark 10:21, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Gut.Ernio48 (talk) 20:29, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

I got Crystal (1997) from my library and he gives 427 million so I updated the article to that. It's not a million miles away from the previous figure and it might seem like a step backward as the replaced source was 2013, but as I said above, I think that source is completely unreliable and I really don't believe that their data is genuinely 2013, they copied it from somewhere in 2013 more like. There is now a third edition (2010) of Crystal if anyone has access to that. SpinningSpark 21:54, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
I am aware that English is a leading world language and rapidly expanding, but nevertheless I am a little surprised with this number of native speakers. Thought it will be a little more than 300 million, cause Ethnologue and most sources claims that number. List of languages by number of native speakers is based on the Swedish Nationalencyclopedia and claims 360 million speakers of English.
I am still inclined to go with Crystal because he has reviewed multiple sources. I wouldn't set any great store by other tertiary sources agreeing with Ethnologue, that may well be where they got their figures from. In fact Ethnologue is one of Crystal's primary sources. From his bibliography, the two sources used to compile his list of speakers are,
  • Bright, W. (ed), International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, New York & Oxford: OUP, 1992
  • Grimes, B. F. (ed), Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 13th edition, Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1996
Crystal says he has "averaged" his sources where they disagree. I don't know what averaging algorithm he is using but presumably Bright has a much larger figure, or else there is some other source that Crystal considers more accurate. In any event, the source that was in the article had to go, there is no sign that it was reliable. SpinningSpark 09:23, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.109.70.122 (talk) 21:45, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Crystal is an excellent linguist, but he is wrong here. To take but one example, Crystal claimed close to 300 million native English speakers just in the US back in 1997. However, the latest US census records only 229 native English speakers in the US. What Crystal is saying is contrary to most other sources, and I'll replace it with data better corresponding to censuses, not personal estimations.Jeppiz (talk) 17:03, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 28 August 2014[edit]

2600:1011:B10E:B9B:0:39:8DAA:DA01 (talk) 12:15, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Cannolis (talk) 13:32, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Number of words in English[edit]

Is this worth adding to the page?: Technically speaking, English has an infinite number of words if you include chemical terms, and the longest word is infinitely long. Amino acids (e.g. glycine, alanine) are the components of proteins, and are certainly considered words - look them up in any dictionary. Small proteins (called peptides) are strings of these, and can be named: glycylalanine, if you string the two above-mentioned together. This gives rise to an infinite number of peptide names, unless you want to set an arbitrary limit on how long a peptide can be. To take small example, insulin is made up of 51 amino acids. You could name it properly as Glycy-isoleucyl-valyl... etc for 48 more amino acids; which is why we call it just "insulin". But we can give names to ALL of the possible peptides 51 amino acids long. Using the 26 common amino acids, this gives us 26^51, or over 10 to the 71st names. That's about the number of atoms in our galaxy. For proteins, which are large peptides, the number of names is of course larger. Jnfrancis9 (talk) 02:16, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

This has come up a lot before... You might like to type "number of words" into the Archive search field and read through what you find before we go further. Garik (talk) 15:29, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Poetry[edit]

Poetry is not mentioned in the article. seems odd to not mention it.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 04:06, 20 September 2014 (UTC)