English is a West Germanic language from the Indo-European family that is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Although there are over 300 million native speakers, they are outnumbered by more than double the amount of second language speakers (700 million) bringing the total number of speakers to over a billion. English is most commonly spoken in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand and is an official language in 67 countries and de facto official in even more. Even where English does not hold official status, it is widely spoken because English is the language most commonly taught as a foreign language. English is considered by some to be the first global language, being the most widely used language in news, publishing, science, international trade and communications, and mass entertainment.
English dates back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes from Germany who invaded Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Romans withdrew from the area and the Anglo-Saxon language became dominant. The language evolved into four dialects but was first written in the West Saxon dialect which became the standard written language. It was originally written using a Runic script, but English soon adopted a Latin alphabet. It evolved into Middle English and eventually to Modern English, all the while growing geographically with the expansion of the British Empire. Although the colonies gained independence, they kept the language, and to this day it continues to spread through education and media.
Estonian is a language from the Uralic family, a small family of less than 40 languages that spread out of the Ural Mountains. The language is spoken by a little more than a million people, mainly in Estonia and a few communities in surrounding countries. The Northern Crusades of the 13th centuries suppressed the language, making it difficult to find older sources and delaying literacy. Some writings and translations exist from the 1500s but the native literature of Estonia began with poems published in the early 1800s. The language grew and became more prevalent, becoming the official language in 1919 when Estonia gained independence.
If you need anything translated into one of these languages, come on over to Lionbridge onDemand. Stay tuned for our next A-Z blog where we’ll tell you about the Lionbridge languages that begin with “F”.
(*These are the languages for which we have translators on staff and ready to go. If there is a language that you do not see on this list, you can put in a request and we can find and source a linguist for you.)