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INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE, sometimes international auxiliary language. A language, natural or artificial, that is used for general communication among the nations of the world: ‘In the four centuries since the time of Shakespeare, English has changed from a relatively unimportant European language with perhaps four million speakers into an international language used in every continent by approximately eight hundred million people’ ( Loreto Todd & Ian Hancock, International English Usage, 1986); ‘The success of English in its function as an international auxiliary language has often been regarded as a measure of its adequacy for the job’ (Manfred Görlach, ‘Varietas Delectat’, in Nixon & Honey, An Historic Tongue, 1988). Compare LINGUA FRANCA, WORLD LANGUAGE. See BASIC ENGLISH, BROKEN ENGLISH, WORLD ENGLISH.

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international language