It is a co-official language of the United Nations, the European Union and many other world and regional international organisations.
It is the most widely spoken Germanic language, accounting for at least 70% of speakers of this Indo-European branch.
Through the worldwide influence of the British Empire, and later the United States, Modern English has been spreading around the world since the 17th century.
Through all types of printed and electronic media, and spurred by the emergence of the United States as a global superpower, English has become the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions and professional contexts such as science, navigation and law.
It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England.
Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea.
These left a profound mark of their own on the language, so that English shows some similarities in vocabulary and grammar with many languages outside its linguistic clades—but it is not mutually intelligible with any of those languages either.
Some scholars have argued that English can be considered a mixed language or a creole—a theory called the Middle English creole hypothesis.
The Frisian languages, which together with the Anglic languages form the Anglo-Frisian languages, are the closest living relatives of English.
Low German/Low Saxon is also closely related, and sometimes English, the Frisian languages, and Low German are grouped together as the Ingvaeonic (North Sea Germanic) languages, though this grouping remains debated.