The English language is spoken or read by the largest number of people in the world, for historical, political, and economic reasons; but it may also be true that it owes something of its wide appeal to qualities and characteristics inherent in itself. What are these characteristic features which outstand in making the English language what it is, which give it its individuality and make it of this worldwide significance?
First and most important is extraordinary receptive and adaptable — it has taken to itself material from almost everywhere in the world and has made the new elements of language its own. English, which when the Anglo-Saxons first conquered England in the fifth and sixth centuries was almost a "pure" or unmixed language—which could make new words for new ideas from its own compounded elements.
A second outstanding characteristic of English is its simplicity and the relationship of words in a sentence with only the minimum of change in their shapes or variation of endings.
A third quality of English is its relatively fixed word order. （177 words）
1. This passage is primarily concerned with
A. reasons for the popularity of English
B. English language has largest number of people in the world
C. extraordinary receptive and adaptable of English language
D. characteristic of English
2. What are the most important characteristic features of English?
A. the largest number of people
B. historical, political, and economic reasons
C. extraordinary receptive and adaptable
D. worldwide significance
3. Where has English taken itself material?
A. everywhere in the world.
B. the Anglo-Saxons.
C. a "pure" or unmixed language.
D. many places in the world.
4. According to the text, England was once
A. conquered by some foreigners.
B. defeated by the Anglo-Saxons.
C. a colony of the Anglo-Saxons.
D. mixed with the Anglo-Saxons.
5. Which of the following is NOT the characteristic of English language?
B. wide spread
D. relatively fixed word order