Top English Speaking Countries in the World
The land of Great Britain is the place from where the English language originated. Being dominant in the United States, English is also a major spoken language in New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Canada and also prevails in various island nations in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, South Africa, and other states like Singapore, Pakistan, the Philippines, and India have made English their official language. The medium of instruction used in their educational and governmental institutions is English. Moreover, in almost every other UN member state, English is the first choice of foreign language. Consequently, English has been given the position of global lingua franca with a staggering amount of over 2 billion people speaking it. Let’s review some of the top English-speaking countries in the world.
Top English Speaking Countries In The World
Undoubtedly, the Lingua Franca of the modern era is the English language. And this is not just a statement, because over 67 countries have made English their official language. We tend to learn English simultaneously along with our own specific mother tongue.
Almost in every other developing or developed country, you can see signboards, advertisements, and banners with English words popping in the face of the viewers. Be it direction signs, bus stands or airports, English phrases and instructions are commonly found because it is globally recognized.
After the arrival of the British in North America, 13 colonies were formed in the Northern seaboard. And with the passage of time, these 13 colonies expanded into 50 states after they gained independence from the British in 1776. The British physically left this part of the world, but their influence remained intact. Hence, the reason today English is spoken by almost 226 million people living in the USA.
In our conversations, American English is frequently used. This is mostly due to the influence of pop culture where musical legends like Elvis Presley and Michale Jackson, and Hollywood stars like Marlon Brando, Tom Cruise, and Brad Pitt have a huge following in developing countries like India, South Korea, and Pakistan. However, a surprising fact that might shock you is that the United States does not have an official language, but still, globally, it is the most influential language.
After the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, India adopted English to be its official language. At that time very few people spoke the English language as their first language. However, with the passage of time, India was able to adopt English as a medium of instruction for their educational institutions. When this decision was made, Indians started to promote the English language, and naturally, the popularity of this language also grew.
More and more people started to study and listen to this language. As per the 2011 census, English was spoken by 129 million Indians. That makes around 10.6% of the population who spoke English. Moreover, English was reported as a second language by almost 83 million people. This accounts for 6.8% of the population. These statistics were actually responsible for India being ranked 22 out of the 72 countries in the EF English Proficiency Index.
Read This: How many languages are spoken in India
Pakistan gained independence in 1947 along with India. The elite culture that prevailed after independence was actually the leftover from British rule. Pakistan did not have the time or resources to establish a new system, so they adopted what was available to them, i.e the British policies.
This included domains like radio and entertainment, prestigious newspapers, universities, and higher education, the officer corps of the armed forces, and civil services. Henceforth, English became the de facto official language of Pakistan, and in the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, it was formalized.
In 1999, the term ‘Pinglish’ was coined which was a blend of the words English and Pakistani. This word actually represented the pronunciation of English used within Pakistan. However, the official language used in Pakistan is that of the British language, as far as spellings and pronunciations of some words are concerned, rather than the American style of English.
With having at least some degree of fluency, one of the largest English speaking countries is the Philippines. More than 14 million Filipinos speak this language, which naturally makes it one of the official languages. Furthermore, the primary medium of instruction in education as well as the formal language used in law and commerce is the English language.
Surpassing India back in 2015, the Philippines became the top voice outsourcing destination in the world. And it has been possible only due to the proficiency in the language that the country possesses. The quality and affordability of the Second language (ESL) programs being taught in the Philippines has attracted a huge influx of foreign learners of English.
Read Also: Language is spoken in the Philippines
Considering the fact that English is just the second language, it’s quite amazing to see that the English language has established a firm grip in Nigeria. Nigerian Pidgin, is the local language that is spoken by the majority of the people. It’s basically a blend of both their local language as well as a few sentences of English. This makes the process of understanding quite simple.
However, it slightly varies from regular English. Nonetheless, English has made a huge impact on the economy of Nigeria. Some of the great English writers are from Nigeria and have played a huge role in some of the largest film industries.
Other than that a lot of American athletes are from Nigeria, including Anthony Joshua, a British heavyweight boxer. Moreover, Francis Nagannu, Israel Adesanya, and Kumaru Usman, all are immigrants from Nigeria. This has given a big boost to the influence of western culture in the socio-economic sphere of Nigeria.
There is a diverse range of accents and dialects when it comes to written and spoken English in England. Northern English dialects, Midland English dialects, and the Southern English dialects are the three largest recognizable dialect groups in England.
Historically speaking, William Shakespeare plays a big role in the popularity of English culture and English literature. One of the accomplishments to his credit was that he invented around 1700 words in the English Language. Moving forward, the colonization period of the British empire was majorly responsible for spreading the English language around the world.
However, if you are wondering about the fact that why the UK is not in the top 3 of the list? Your query is justifiable. The answer to this question is that due to the large geographic size of the United Kingdom, the population of people speaking English in the ratio is very low, as compared to the other English speaking nations.
For English speakers, another very popular tourist destination in Germany. Many British people and Americans love to visit beautiful cities like Berlin and Hamburg. But the real question is how widely is English spoken there? And the answer to this question is that to some extent English is spoken by more than half the population.
This shows that relative to other European countries the English language is more popular in Germany. Schools in Germany give a lot of focus to English. Starting from Primary schools all the way up to secondary school and then Higher education, the formal language used is the English language.
Moreover, tourism forms a big part of Germany’s economy. Decent English is spoken by almost anyone who works in the tourist/service industry. By just using English, you can survive in places like Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Berlin. Most in restaurants and other famous museums, Germans can switch from their local language to English very quickly.
Since the Independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan back in 1971, the English language has gone through its ups and downs. English was the second language in Bangladesh but was replaced by a national language called Bangla. However, with the passage of time and due to globalization, the most influential international language of communication is English.
Influenced by the English culture, commerce, and global technology, Bangladesh has now become a hub of outsourcing for the IT sector. The national language, Bangla, has yet again been replaced by the English language as the second most important language. And the reason behind this is that English writing and reading skills are tested in the Higher secondary school certificate exam.
However, speaking and listening abilities are not tested. This showcases a very important point, that though English is vigorously taught in schools, the major focus is to improve the English writing skills of a person. That is the reason why Bangalis have good written English but are not very fluent in speaking.
The language of the Canadians has always been influenced by the English language, but North American English will always be considered as the base of Canadian English. French and English are the official languages of Canada, which makes it Bilingual.
However, this has led to a bit of a conflict between the French-speaking and English-speaking Canadian citizens. The French-speaking population felt that they are being considered second-class citizens when compared to the English-speaking people.
These people get discriminated against when it comes to employment opportunities. Nonetheless, the English spoken in the rest of North America is very similar to Modern Canadian English. 58.1% of the total population in Canada speak the English language and consider it to be their first language. Canadian characteristics plus a combination of American and British English make up the Canadian English.
Everyone in Sweden excels at speaking English, even though the English language is not the official language in Sweden. In the EF English Proficiency Index, Sweden was ranked in second place out of 80 countries, back in 2017. Moreover, Sweden has been able to maintain its rank among the top 3 in the last 4 years. The major reason for this success is that English is the medium of expression on almost every website.
Since the majority of the content is in English, a lot of youth are being exposed to English due to the reach of social media. Moreover, Sweden is a multicultural country. Expectations exceed, and people stay in the beautiful country of Sweden, for much longer in order to hang out or study.
Another reason that makes English the common language among all the different nationalities, is that a lot of multinational companies use the medium of English plus a lot of academic programs are offered in English by universities.
90% to 93% of the Dutch population can speak English in the Netherlands. The use of subtitles for foreign languages on television, rather than audio dubbing, dependence on international trade, and the country’s small size is the main reason for the high degree of English speakers. Moreover, English and Dutch are closely related to West Germanic languages which enables Dutch’s genealogical proximity to English.
In the Netherlands, there is an occupational abundance of aviation and the sciences, which requires a complex knowledge of English. Therefore, English is prioritized over Dutch when it comes to the medium of instruction in schools and universities, plus also in the commercial and business sector.
Learning the Queen’s English is the official goal for pupils. Moreover, the culminating factor that is responsible for the use of English is the fact that British English television programs and American English television are freely available.
With very good cuisine and tourist attractions, Malta is one of the most picturesque and scenic small islands off the south coast of Italy in all of Europe. However, the real question is that if you only know how to converse in English, can you hope to get by?
From an early age, youngsters in schools are taught English alongside Malta, hence the reason English is the co-official language. You do not need to know any of the local languages because 90% of the population can speak English fluently. Thus, it is among the top English speaking countries.
For British expats, Malta is actually a very popular location, because the weather is extremely good throughout the year and they do not have to learn any of their local languages. In the business world, English is mostly used. Moreover, English and Maltese are the medium of expression for both administration and public policymaking.
With a population of around 6 million people, one of the most prosperous Scandinavian countries in the world is Denmark. With a booming tourist industry, people from all over the world are visiting Denmark on an annual basis. However, the real question is how widely spoken is English there?
Almost the entire population of Denmark is fluent in English. From a very early age, English is being taught to children. They are very competent in English since they are exposed to English language culture and literature from primary school.
Hence, a tourist does not need to worry as he would be understood by everyone.86% of the Danish population can speak English, according to a survey held back in 2016. As of now, that number is over the 90% mark. In the world for English competency and fluency, Denmark consistently ranks in the top 4 countries, along with the other Scandinavian countries.
Outside the educated elite group, very few people spoke English in Singapore, since it was colonized by the British in the 19th and 20th centuries. So how is that Singapore, now, has become a major study abroad destination for students around the world?
The major factor behind this change is the policies of Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who believed that widespread English proficiency would be key to building Singapore’s economy and developing its regional and global competitiveness.
Some of the highest English proficiency levels in the world are possessed by Singaporean adults, as they were ranked third place out of 88 countries, in the EF English Proficiency Index. English was adopted as the language of instruction for most school subjects, including history, science, and maths in Singapore back in 1987.
Moreover, Singaporeans have always focused upon creating authentic contexts in the classroom, where the attention was addressed towards students practicing speaking the language, as compared to just rote learning vocabulary exercises and abstract grammar rules.
If a person desires to enter a global workforce, he or she needs to speak English, because it is the international language of business. Moreover, when it comes to traveling, knowing English will be the most useful and important language.
It will allow you to build everlasting friendships, meet new people, and learn about new cultures. Last but not the least, access to the internet world, media, and entertainment are made easy by learning the English language.
And that is why these countries are ranked in this specific order as English speaking countries. The ones who have adopted changes in their economic, political and social spheres in an attempt to promote the English language, have also reaped its benefits. If you are aspiring to expand your business into any of the above countries, languages services can be of great assistance.
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