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UNIT 2. WORKBOOK Listening Section |
Languages of the World
Scientists say that there are about 2,800 languages in the world. As the number of foreign languages is quite big, it is sometimes rather difficult to choose what foreign language to learn. Still there is a language that is most popular all over the world. In fact, this language is the English language. Today English is the language of the world. It is the official language of quite a number of countries. Of course one of the first on this list is Great Britain where English came from.
The official language of Italy is Italian. Still Italians say that Russian is spoken in many tourist zones, first of all — in Rome. You can speak German in the north of the Adriatic and around the lakes. But they will understand your English and French almost everywhere: in restaurants, hotels and tourist bureaus. Maybe it is like this because Russian, English, German and French are world languages.
During the past years Norway has grown into a popular tourist centre. Tourism develops so fast because this land has a long history and is very beautiful. Another factor is that English is widely spoken in Norway though its official language is Norwegian. Any native speaker will answer your questions if you ask them in English. So you can feel at home in Norway if you speak English.
Who Speaks English?
English is the official language of Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the USA. English is one of the official languages in Ireland, Canada, and the South African Republic. As a second language they speak it in Pakistan, India, Singapore and very many countries of Africa and Asia which were British colonies before. Over 400 million speak English as a mother tongue.
Thousands of Words to Learn
>Rоsie: Annie, is anything wrong? You look kind of sad.
>Annie: The matter is that our English teacher has told us today we must have a rich vocabulary and learn more new English words.
>Rоsie: So, what's the problem then?
>Annie: But he says that there are more than 500,000 words in English. You know, William Shakespeare used 20,000 words in his writing. How can I learn so many words? Even if I try to learn 50 words every day it will take 27 years of my life!
>Rоsie: Come on, Annie! Grow up! You've forgotten that normally a native speaker uses only 5,000 words in his or her speech! If you are hardworking, you can learn them all just in 100 days. A lot of time is still left for fun!
There are ten main language families in the world. The languages of one family are like members of a real family. For example, nearly all the languages of modern Europe are relatives. They form part of one large group of languages which we call the Indo-European languages. English, Greek, Russian, French, German, Spanish and many more belong here. They are all like cousins to each other.
Some of them are closer to each other; they are like brothers and sisters. For example, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian. All of them belong to Slavonic languages. German and English belong to Germanic languages. Scandinavian languages such as Swedish and Norwegian also get into this group. French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian belong to the Romance languages. All of them came from Latin, but the closest to Latin is Italian.