A recent study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was published in the National Academy of Sciences found that English is the most influential language on Earth. Many of you may say "Well, duh…", but it's important to look at the factors that were taken into account for such a distinction. While most of us tend to consider the language of business, or the language with the most economic impact (not always the same as 'business'), it's easy to NOT take into consideration what languages are most often used most in mediums of communication such as media (in this case books) and on the global Internet. The study analyzed data from books, Wikipedia and Twitter (this surprised me as I'm not a huge user of Twitter…does that make me out of touch?). Anyway, as specified in the research, over 2.2 million books were taken into account representing over 1,000 languages, as well as articles on Wikipedia and tweets sent on Twitter sent by 17 million (!) users and in over 73 languages. I'd say that's pretty representative of not only what people are saying but in what way they are saying it.
The results are quite interesting in that they clearly point out that English is the most influential language in use today and is over 50% of the communications analyzed in the study. This is incredible because in all of human history only a few languages have held the distinction of being a global language.
For Lingo Jingo, this supports the importance of getting more and more people to be better communicators in the language. As we view English language educators in the United States to be the most critical link in the chain of English acquisition, we strive to make sure these important folks are supported to the best of our ability!
If you'd like to learn more about this research, you can find it here on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website.
There's also a really cool interactive 'language map' that's available on the MIT website that offers a deeper look into not only the dominance and interconnectedness of all of the world languages, but also shows population and economic data. Take a look, it's worth a few minutes of your time.