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English isn't owned by English-language speakers any more, is it? The majority of people around the world who are speaking English right now have another language as their mother tongue. Because English is more than a language, it's a currency and a lingua franca. And the most wonderful thing about English, and perhaps the reason it's the language adopted for international communication, is its adaptability. English changes according to country (which we explored in 2010) and context (which we explored in 2011) and our job as we see it is to record the way that it changes and is adapted by us all and to provide a record of that with clear, good definitions and a place for discussion – which is the blog and our social media pages. So that is our aim – to be relevant, useful and descriptive rather than prescriptive.
In 2012 "What's your English?" splits into three channels that will provide a community for each of the three types of users we've learned that we have: people who are learning English, people who are "living" English and people who are loving English. Each channel has its own social media pages, blog posts and resources. We urge you to choose the one that is most relevant to you, to sign up to an RSS feed for your channel and to join the connected community on Facebook and Twitter (but you are welcome, of course, to follow as many channels as you like). We want to give you exactly what you enjoy or what you need. Choose the L that is best for you:
Learn English is, of course, for those of you who are learning English. If you're a teacher, this channel will be useful to you too. It provides language tips, resources for learners and shares red words to learn and remember every day – the red word and star system is unique to our dictionaries and shows you the most important 7500 words to know in the English language. This is, after all, a learner's dictionary and we've put a huge amount of time, care and effort into learning how we can be most useful to you on your language-learning path. There's more on Learn English here.
Live English is for you if you use English for a specific purpose; you don't think of yourself as a student of English, but you're someone who needs English in a certain aspect of their life. You may need English at work – in international conference calls, for example, or if you need to send a lot of emails or do presentations in English when English is not your mother tongue. You might only use English to socialize online. You might be a pilot (pilots now need to learn a core vocabulary to qualify to fly internationally … and we have just the book!) In live English we'll also discuss social norms, acceptable terms, politeness, assertiveness and various topics that fall under "life skills". There's more on Live English here.
Love English … well, you know who you are. You just love languages, possibly English in particular, and if it's not your first language you're at least pretty fluent. You like to debate the fate of the apostrophe and the verbing of nouns, and you have opinions on matters linguistic and lexicographic. We'll continue to provide you with top-notch blog posts and fascinating nuggets over the coming year. We get a kick out of all the comments and questioning and even the nit-picking, of course. More on Love English here.
To participate in the 'What's your English?' campaign, join in on conversations on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter (we're @macdictionary). You can also add a word to the Open Dictionary, or contact us if you would like to write a guest blog post.