For ages & eras, languages came about from peoples and places of sorts both independently and needs-based cross-fertilization of diverse and even disparate customs, traditions & values. These in turn found and advanced orally and in black & white by writers of various interests & backgrounds led gradually to language-dependent literature of different kinds & forms.
Human civilization since time immemorial has been cognizant of and accordingly served time & efforts in developing the needed medium of communication which resulted in words & phrases founded on personal & sound-based signs used by animate objects – in particular human beings – culminating into a language of expression.
Today, as languages throughout the world developed in shapes & formats, we see an unlimited world of languages alongside literatures enriched by their unabated and definitive inculcation through human cultural pursuits giving identity to each one of them, recognized and esteemed the world over.
No wonder, in this respect, one sees with awe and values all languages & literatures in man’s modern world. And, here, the United Nations fortunately ensures valued continuity & development of these modes of human expression as prevalent and as required to preserve and promote any of them from going extinct.
The English Language Day, founded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010, is traditionally observed to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.
The English Language Day was established to commemorate birth anniversary (23rd April, 1564) of the most famous and celebrated worldwide English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, who died on the same date in 1616.
This Day aims to entertain and inform people and for increasing awareness and respect about the history, culture and achievements associated with each of the six working languages among the UN community. The day often features book-reading events, English quizzes, poetry and literature exchanges, and other activities that promote the English language.
William Shakespeare is considered by many to be the father of modern English Literature. It is not just his popularity and influence on modern writers that allows for this title to be attributed to him but because of the massive contributions he made to the development of the English language.
Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets are marked by recurring themes and variable beauty with the transcendent power of love and art. Today, over 400 years later, his plays are performed and read more often and in more nations than ever before.
The Tamil language of South Asia is recognized as the oldest language in the world and it is the oldest language of the Dravidian family. This language had a presence even around 5,000 years ago. According to a survey, 1863 newspapers are published in Tamil language every day.
Surprisingly, another very old Sanskrit-based language of South Asia – that is Bengali – spoken by the majority people of Pakistan (then Eastern Wing), received recognition from the UN in the context of a four-year-long movement since 1948 to achieve officialdom of the Bengali language. The 21st Feb. (1952) declared by the world body as International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.
The other old language that is English was founded in the year 450 when German tribes spoke a similar language. The language of that time is referred as Old English. Even native English speakers find it difficult to understand that, as it has a lot of differences to what we consider as the English Language.
The current English language that we speak is referred as Modern English. It is originated in the year 1800. Modern English has more words, which was founded to name new technologies during the time of the industrial revolution.
A Germanic language that began to develop during the 5th and 6th centuries when Anglo-Saxons settled in Britain, early English is also influenced by French, Latin, and many other languages. These influences were so profound that that modern English could be regarded as a Latinized, Frenchified dialect of Old German (an over-simplification, of course) to which it bears some resemblance. The Germanic roots of English are evident in the many words that are virtually the same in both modern tongues.
The Latin influence on English gave the developing language a richer vocabulary, and, since the monasteries were centers of literacy and learning, today the learned among us tend to use a lot of words with Latin roots, while the less educated speak “plain” (Anglo-Saxon derived) English. The sciences and fine arts employ a great deal of terminology that comes from the language of the Church, in which all learned discourse was conducted (both words come from Latin).
The French nobility brought with them many words to English language; French is widely regarded in English speaking countries as the language of refinement and high culture. From fine cuisine to what’s in vogue (both words French in origin), this strong French influence is evident today.
The closest major language to English is Dutch. With 23 million native speakers, and an additional 5 million who speak it as a second language, Dutch is the 3rd most-widely spoken Germanic language in the world after English and German.
When the British Empire spread English around the globe, its language had already taken its modern form, and dialects spoken in America, Canada, and Australia are all variants of “the king’s English” comprehensible to all native Anglophones. Our modern language was born and raised in England. That’s why it’s called English.
While English is the most spoken language in the world, it is the native tongue for only one-quarter of those who speak it. Or more impressively, for three-quarters of those who speak English, it is at least their second language if not a third or fourth.
The father of English Language & Literature is Geoffrey Chaucer, who was born in London sometime between 1340 and 1344. He was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat (courtier), and a diplomat.
Of English language ownership, no one owns English; there is no single standard for it, though American and British English are the main dialects in the world today; they are both very influential in different spheres but the future of World English will be largely determined by people who speak it as a second language.
The English language is far from perfect. With so many words that mean the same thing, or phrases and sayings that make no literal sense. Weirdly, two people with English as a second language can communicate information easier and more accurately than two English people.
Billions of people study English around the world, making it the third most widespread native language, and many are enrolled in an English speaking course as an adult or from a young age. Though apparently difficult, it has been one of the most simple languages, especially in the Common-wealth countries.
Unlike other languages, English is somewhat easy to learn as it has no cases, no gender, no word agreement, and arguably has a simple grammar system. English speakers sometimes have difficulties when learning Portuguese because they are not used to words having genders.
English is easy because it’s much easier to spell than most languages, and none of the grammatical rules have any exceptions. Thirdly, it only has easy sounds for foreigners to pronounce unlike difficult languages like Spanish, which has such strange tongue twisting sounds.
Unlike other languages, English has no cases, no gender, no word agreement, and arguably has a simple grammar system. English speakers sometimes have difficulties when learning Portuguese because they are not used to words having genders.
The English language is beautiful because it has many languages combined into it. German, Norse, French, and Latin are just a few. The way it is spoken nowadays, probably turns some people off.
The beauty of the English language lies in its simplicity. Try saying “I love you” in any other language and you will see the difference. More than a formal expression, it cloaks a certain warmth and sincerity vital to make it reflect the delicate inner closeness you cherish in a relationship.
English is an Easy Language.
English is the Language of International Communication. Although English is not the most spoken language in the world, it is the official language in 53 countries and is spoken as a first language by around 400 million people worldwide. But that’s not all, it is also the most common second language in the world.
English as a language in Pakistan has been almost a natural phenomenon after it became independent from two-centuries of British rule and continued to be used and practiced by the Govt. and people. Alongside national language Urdu, as a matter of convenience, English was declared to be the official language of the country and remained a major medium of communication and as second language in the educational institutions at the federal level and in all the provinces. English is a major international language and in Pakistan it is spoken and understood generally in urban areas; it is not too difficult to learn and mostly found to be comfortable in fostering .
The special thing about English is that people find it flexible and easy to pick up. It is a huge entity of vocabulary and is constantly absorbing new words, whilst at the same time seeping into foreign languages. English contains over 750,000 words and there are hundreds of words adopted from Urdu language and other dialects of Pakistan as well.
Most people in Pakistan cite good reasons for the popularity of the English language, such as that it is “not too difficult to learn” or that it evolves with our changing times. Despite debates & controversies over preponderance and usage of English vis-à-vis Urdu and other provincial languages, English in Pakistan continues to sustain, shine and English literature wears new spectrums by the day through those who practice and believe in universality of English as a paragon.

• The author is a former senior career diplomat,
• Founding Chairman, Centre for Public-Cultural Diplomacy, Islamabad.

He can be reached at

  • saladinch168@gmail.com
    and @SaladinCh

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