The rise of English from being a SMALL language spoken only in the British Isles to the Lingua Franca of the modern world is staggering.
I want to replace the adjective "small" with something else. Could anyone please suggest anything?
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A minority language is one spoken only by a minority of people in a region. However English has never been a minority language in England (at least not in the last 1000 years).
An obscure language is one which few people know about. But it isn't clear that English was ever particularly obscure, compared with other European Languages.
A regional language is one only spoken in one region. Basque is an example of a regional language. You could also say a "local language".
One problem is that English wasn't especially rare or little-spoken. It was no rarer than French or German, for example. You are also writing a very top heavy sentence (long subject, short end) So perhaps some rephrasing could help. You can split it up into separate sentences. Right now the sentence is doing two or three jobs. It tells you that English has risen. That it was a small languge. And that the change is staggering. You can rephrase to put each fact in a new sentence or coordinated clause.
In the fourteenth century, English was a local language, only spoken on the British Isles. Since then it has spread to achieve dominance as the lingua franca of the modern world. This rise has been staggering and unparalleled in world history.