Modern English (sometimes New English or NE (ME) as opposed to Middle English and Old English) is the form of the English language which has been spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, which began in the late 14th century and was completed by the 17th century.
|Era||15th century AD – present|
|Latin script (English alphabet)|
English Braille, Unified English Braille
With some differences in vocabulary, texts which date from the early 17th century, such as the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, are considered Modern English texts, or more specifically, they are referred to as texts which were written in Early Modern English or they are referred to as texts which were written in Elizabethan English. Through colonization, English was adopted in many regions of the world by the British Empire, such as Anglo-America, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Modern English has many dialects spoken in many countries throughout the world, sometimes collectively referred to as the Anglosphere. These dialects include (but are not limited to) American, Australian, British (containing English English, Welsh English and Scottish English), Canadian, Caribbean, Hiberno-English, Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Nigerian, New Zealand, Philippine, Singaporean, and South African English.
According to the Ethnologue, there are almost 1 billion speakers of English as a first or second language. English is spoken as a first or a second language in many countries, with most native speakers being in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland; there are also large populations in India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Southern Africa. It "has more non-native speakers than any other language, is more widely dispersed around the world and is used for more purposes than any other language". Its large number of speakers, plus its worldwide presence, have made English a common language (lingua franca) "of the airlines, of the sea and shipping, of computer technology, of science and indeed of (global) communication generally".