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The word English derives from the eponym Angle, the name of a Germanic tribe thought to originate from the Angeln area of Jutland, now in northern Germany.
Modern English, sometimes described as the first global lingua franca, is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications, science,information technology, , seafaring, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire, and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global. Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries, it became the dominant language in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The growing economic and cultural influence of the US and its status as a global superpower since World War II have significantly accelerated the languages spread across the planet. English replaced German as the dominant language of science Nobel Prize laureates during the second half of the 20th century.English equalled and may have surpassed French as the dominant language of diplomacy during the last half of the 19th century.
A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields, occupations and professions such as medicine and computing; as a consequence over one billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English as a second or foreign language. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations.
One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. Its influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. Conversely, the natural internal variety of English along with creoles and pidgins have the potential to produce new distinct languages from English over time.
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