English NIV FireBible (1984)
The English Language
Known as the global lingua franca, or common language, 400 million people speak English as a first language and 750 million speak it as a second language, meaning there are more who learned the language secondarily than native speakers. English is the third-most spoken native language in the world, after Spanish and Standard Chinese. It is the de facto official language of the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, and the official language of 55 sovereign states. A member of the West Germanic language family, English shares innovations similar to German, Swedish, and Dutch. In written form, it utilizes the Latin alphabet and contains 26 letters. English vocabulary developed from a high percentage of words from French, Latin, and other Romance languages, and in turn, has influenced many others. Collectively, worldwide, over 1 billion people speak the English language.