English is The Greatest Language of the World. Of some three thousand existing languages, large and small, English is second only to Chinese in number of speakers. It has well over 300 million native speakers, plus probably as many more who handle it in pidgin fashion or as an acquired tongue. It enjoys the widest distribution of any language on earth, appearing in numerous countries on every continent as an official tongue and unofficially in many more over half of the world's scientific publications, books, newspapers and magazines are entirely or partly in English. In international congresses and gatherings, English is used more often than any other tongue. More than half of the world's radio and television programs are in English and it is the language most commonly used in the world's airways and seaways.
(- Mario Pei : A Historical Sketch of the English Language : Preface to the Living Webster Encyclopaedic Dictionary of the English Language)