English as an int'l language Edit
I think you're mistaken about the number of people who speak English. Estimates vary between about .5 and 1.8 billion speakers of English overall (including native and non-native) which is a lot more than 5% of the world population. On the other hand, something like two million people speak Esperanto. (These figures are from the wikipedia page). --Dbutler1986 20:11, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
- Actually, I said 5% natively and another 5% as a second language. But you are right, my numbers are a little off. According to ethnologue, the total of native speakers is 309,352,280 and the total number including second-language speakers is 508,000,000 - of course, ethnologue's information looks like it's about 9 years old. Unfortunately, it's very hard to get a solid estimate. The 1.8 billion that is cited on wikipedia is from a pretty poor source. It's a paper that somebody wrote, and they don't say where they got the number.
- Anyway, if we use the world population (and we accept Ethnologue's numbers) from that time: 5,978,000,000 we get almost 5% for native speakers, and about 8% for total combined with second language speakers.
- I went ahead and grabbed the CIA World Factbook percentages for the world. They only have the percentages of native speakers, but...
- Mandarin Chinese 13.22%, Spanish 4.88%, English 4.68%, Arabic 3.12%, Hindi 2.74%, Portuguese 2.69%, Bengali 2.59%, Russian 2.2%, Japanese 1.85%, Standard German 1.44%, Wu Chinese 1.17% (2005 est.)
- Oh and this picture is interestng it represents 100% knowledge of English as red and 0% knowledge of English as blue. Obviously there's a bunch of purple out there, but not as much as you might expect. It's based on [ http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dybcensus/V2_table5.pdf censuses compiled by the UN from 1983 to 2003]. Again, it's hard to get the solid data.
- There definitely aren't very many Esperanto speakers in comparison and nobody (well, there are probably some, but crazy people are everywhere) is suggesting that Esperanto be a replacement for any other languages. It's supposed to be a bridge language that's easier for everybody to learn, so that they don't have to lose their native language. It's actually a language conservation tool.
- I only point out the numbers because, well, as an Esperantist I get a little tired of getting the "English is already the international language" statements. Believe me, I love English and Shakespeare and such and I'm not slighting it -- for it is a wonderful language with so many wonderful words and variations and it's my own native language. But Esperanto is fun, interesting, useful and it gets overlooked a lot, which is a shame.
- Wow, I look like I'm ranting. Sorry about that. Please don't misinterpret my enthusiasm. I get kind of chatty when I talk about this stuff. Hoogamagoo 21:39, 11 June 2008 (UTC)