Read the text "British English".
Today English is the most important international language. It is spoken as a mother tongue in all the continents of the world. 400 million people speak English as their first language and 600 million people speak it either as a second or as a foreign language. It is nowadays second only to Chinese in the number of people who speak it.
Millions of people are learning English today. It is the language of summit meetings and international conferences. Foreign political leaders speak to international journalists in English. The latest discoveries are published in English. 80% of all information in the world’s computers is in English.
The English grammar and vocabulary which is used in public speaking, radio and television, books and newspapers is known as “standard British English”. It is taught in colleges and universities and is spoken by educated people. Most working-class people, however, use lots of words and grammatical forms which are regarded as non-standard. The clearest indication of a person’s class is often his accent. The most prestigious accent in Britain is known as “Received Pronunciation (RP)”. It is a combination of standard spoken English with an RP accent that is usually meant when people talk about “BBC English” or “Oxford English” or “the Queen’s English”.
English is the official language in the UK. But some people speak Gaelic in western Scotland, and Welsh — in parts of northern and central Wales. The study of Welsh is now compulsory in many primary and secondary schools. Television and radio services in Wales give about half of their time to Welsh language programmes. And when you travel, you can see road signs in Welsh all over Wales. Distinct forms of English which may vary from locality to locality are called dialects. Dialects have no normalized literary form. Regional versions, possessing literary forms are called variants. In Great Britain there are 2 variants, Scottish and Irish and 5 main groups of dialects.
There are a number of different regional accents in the UK. “Cockney” is the way of speaking English that is typical of native Londoners. This accent is characterized by its special pronunciation and the use of rhyming slang. Like any local accent, it is associated with working-class origins.
English is the most popular language. Millions of people study and use English as a foreign language. English today is absolutely necessary for every educated person.
Write true or false:
1. According to the text, people are learning Spanish today.
2. English is the official language in the UK.
3. “Cockney” is the way of speaking English that is typical of native Americans.