For over two centuries now, English has continued to advance at a phenomenal pace as the dominant language in numerous areas affecting the lives of people around the world: in literature and publishing, science, business affairs, telecommunications and popular entertainment, academia, the arts and sports. English has well over 400 million native speakers around the world, but more than a billion and a half people communicate in English on a regular basis. It is an official language in 67 countries around the world and in dozens of international organisations. That much exposure is bound to affect the language, as you can hear in this programme. Our speakers include David Crystal, a well-known linguist and author of books on the English language, who has helped to edit The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language.
Producer: Marijke van der Meer
Broadcast: October 9, 1991