Did you know there are about 841 million people around the world who speak English? Among this number, 336 million people speak it as their first language while 506 million speak it as their second language. No wonder after Chinese and Spanish, English is considered to be the widely spoken language. Now, this language rules not only the culture, administration, civilization of nations but also the educational system. Almost all jobs that require traveling aboard need a candidate who can speak English. In other words, you can communicate with the world if you know English.
Countries with most English speakers
Let’s have a look at the list of English speaking countries in the world:
Americans, the former arrogant colonists, may not speak the Queen’s language correctly, but they are at the top of the list when it comes to the English speaking counties. Approximately 237.8 million Americans speak English as their first language. 80% of the population call English its mother tongue. The country does not have any official language but still it is the widely spoken language. As America is basically filled with immigrants, over 500 different languages are spoken in the country.
In India, English is the default language in academics and administration. Although Hindi is the official language, but a large number of people fluently speak it as their official language. The total English speaking population in India is 126 million. English language helped the Indian subcontinent unify as it provided a common language for people with multiple languages and dialects. Hence, all the government transactions and communications in India are conducted in English.
Pakistan has 94 million English speakers and yes the number is more than UK itself. It is spoken as the second language in the country. It differs in terminology, grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. It is used as the official language in law, business, government functions and education.
It is amazing to know that there are two official languages in Philippines, Filipino and English. However, 93% population speaks it as their second language. With U.S. occupation, it was imposed on the nation by being taught in schools. In 1901, it began to be used as medium of instruction in the educational institutions. The constitution of 1935 added English as an official language.
Nigeria has 79 million speakers and among them, 4 million speak English as their first language. It is used in academics for scientific study and engineering courses. It is also used in the government communications. It was introduced in Nigeria as the consequence of the colonial policy of Great Britain. Western educational system was introduced because of that it was taught in most schools. That’s why most of the population in Nigeria today is bilingual. Today, the Nigerians who speak it well are a part of the skilled and well paid workforce.
Well, when it comes to English, United Kingdom is its birth place. The country has over 59 million English speakers. Most of the English speakers are monolingual. As the citizens believe it is the part of their culture and traditions, they are very particular about the accent and pronunciation of the language.
It is interesting to know that even though German is the official language, there is still a good number of people who speak English. The language has successfully penetrated in the media as well as German culture. Even the Germans find it easy to learn this language. No wonder the country has 46 million English speakers. You will be amazed to know that English did not actually originate from England, it originated from Germany. The ‘Anglas’ who used to live in West German seaside were the ones to originate the language. These inhabitants decided to invade an island called ‘Britain’ where people used to speak a cluster of languages known as ‘Celts’. When the West German invaded the island, they decided to call their language ‘Aenglisch’. They changed the name of the island to ‘Britain Aengland’.
The official language in Bangladesh is also English as the government functions, trade, and education all use this language. Even in the employment sector, it is mandatory to have done English mastery. The graduates who have proficiency in English are readily hired by private companies. The country has over 30 million speakers. Before independence, as Bangladesh was part of East Pakistan, English was the official language at that time. When Bangladesh got independence, the Constitution was written in Bengali and English. In 1987, it replaced Bengali as the language of the lower courts. Later on in 2001, this status was restored.
Canada has over 28 million English speakers. It is taught as the first language in most of the Canadian schools. Lots of homes speak English too despite the fact that the country has a huge community of French speakers. The government also uses English for communicating. Historical events like the treaty of Paris in 1763 and the American Revolution were responsible for the presence of English in Canada. The percentage of English speakers declined sharply from the 19th century as the Government started introducing language laws for protection the vitality of French.
Although Egypt is an Arabic country but it is home to 28 million English speakers. That’s because it’s used in the official matters. Even the advertisements on the billboards of Egypt are in English. Some of the road plates are bilingual (Arabic and English).
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Apart from these top 10 countries, there some English speaking countries in Europe too such Ireland, Denmark, and Austria but the percentage of English speaking population here is low. Nevertheless, English itself enjoys a great reputation throughout the world. When people from different countries meet, the only language common to them has always been English. It won’t be wrong to say that without learning this language, you cannot communicate with the world.