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English is a West Germanic language that arose in England and south-eastern Scotland in the time of the Anglo-Saxons. Following the economic, political, military, scientific, cultural, and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century, and of the United States since the mid 20th century, it has been widely dispersed around the world, become the leading language of international discourse, and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions.
It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries, as well as in many world organizations. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Over centuries, English speakers have used and added Latin, Greek and French words to their vocabulary.
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