Through the worldwide influence of the British Empire, and later the United States, Modern English has been spreading around the world since the 17th century.
Through all types of printed and electronic media, and spurred by the emergence of the United States as a global superpower, English has become the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions and professional contexts such as science, navigation and law.
It is estimated that there are over 2 billion speakers of English.
English is the most commonly spoken language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia.
From the 5th century CE, the Anglo-Saxons settled Britain as the Roman economy and administration collapsed.
By the 7th century, the Germanic language of the Anglo-Saxons became dominant in Britain, replacing the languages of Roman Britain (43–409 CE): Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, and Latin, brought to Britain by the Roman occupation.It is a co-official language of the United Nations, the European Union and many other world and regional international organisations.It is the most widely spoken Germanic language, accounting for at least 70% of speakers of this Indo-European branch.Some shared features of Germanic languages include the division of verbs into strong and weak classes, the use of modal verbs, and the sound changes affecting Proto-Indo-European consonants, known as Grimm's and Verner's laws.English is classified as an Anglo-Frisian language because Frisian and English share other features, such as the palatalisation of consonants that were velar consonants in Proto-Germanic (see Phonological history of Old English § Palatalization).Englischmen þeyz hy hadde fram þe bygynnyng þre manner speche, Souþeron, Northeron, and Myddel speche in þe myddel of þe lond, ...Noþeles by comyxstion and mellyng, furst wiþ Danes, and afterward wiþ Normans, in menye þe contray longage ys asperyed, and som vseþ strange wlaffyng, chyteryng, harryng, and garryng grisbytting.It is the most widely learned second language and is either the official language or one of the official languages in almost 60 sovereign states.There are more people who have learned it as a second language than there are native speakers.It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England.Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea.