UN English Language Day 2022: It is all about multilingualism
UN English Language Day is observed annually on April 23. The event was established by the UN's Department of Public Information in 2010 to celebrate multilingualism and promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the organization, namely Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian. The day assumes importance in India as we are a multilingual country with English being a dominant language.
April 23 was chosen to celebrate English because it is traditionally observed as both the birthday and death anniversary of the greatest English writer, playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare. Because of widespread usage to propagate international relations, English became the "world language" or the lingua franca--a common language that is used by speakers of various other languages.
Shakespeare, in whose honor the day is celebrated, is credited with the creation of numerous words and phrases in English. Some examples would be pious, aerial, road, and majestic. Most of these words are used so commonly that it is hard to believe they did not exist until the late 1500s. Today, his literary works are admired and read across the globe.
Modern English spread around the world in the 17th century due to the influence of the British Empire and then with the influence of the United States. English can be considered the most spoken language in the world if one divides Chinese into variants. It is the most widely learned second language; more people have learned English as a second language than native speakers.
It is one of the two working languages of the UN Secretariat. As of 2005, there were over two billion English speakers in the world! Although the United Kingdom is the birthplace of English, the US and India have the highest number of English speakers in the world. It is either the national language or one of the official languages of about 60 countries!