Approximately 330 to 360 million people speak English as their first
language . More than half of these (231 million) live in the United
States , followed by some 55 million in
England , the first place
where Modern English was spoken.
English is the third largest language by number of native speakers ,
after Mandarin and Spanish .
Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly, from
470 million to more than 1 billion.
David Crystal calculates that
non-native speakers as of 2003 outnumbered native speakers by a ratio
of 3 to 1. When combining native and non-native speakers, English is
the second most widely spoken language worldwide .
Besides the major varieties of English , such as
American English ,
British English ,
Indian English ,
Canadian English , Australian
Irish English ,
New Zealand English and their sub-varieties,
countries such as
South Africa , the
Jamaica and Nigeria
also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from
English-based creole languages to
Standard English .
* 1 Majority English-speaking countries
* 2 Countries where English is an official language
* 3 English as a global language
* 4 Notes
* 5 References
* 6 Bibliography
MAJORITY ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES
Countries where English is spoken natively by the majority of
the population. Main articles: List of countries by
English-speaking population and
There are six large countries with a majority of native English
speakers that are sometimes grouped under the term
Anglosphere . They
are, in descending order of English speakers, the
United States (at
least 231 million), the
United Kingdom (60 million),
least 20 million),
Australia (at least 17 million), Ireland (4.2
New Zealand (3.7 million).
Pie chart showing the percentage of native English speakers living in
"inner circle" English-speaking countries. Native speakers are now
substantially outnumbered worldwide by second-language speakers of
English (not counted in this chart ).
United States (64.3%) United
Australia (4.7%) South Africa
Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland (1.1%)
New Zealand (1%) Other (5.6%)
English is also the primary natively spoken language in the countries
and territories of
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda , the
Barbados , Belize ,
Bermuda , the
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory , the
British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands , the
Cayman Islands ,
Dominica , the Falkland
Guam , Guernsey ,
Guyana , the Isle of
Pitcairn Islands , Saint Helena,
Ascension and Tristan da Cunha ,
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis , Saint Vincent
and the Grenadines ,
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands ,
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago , and the
Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands .
Other substantial communities of native speakers are found in South
Africa (4.8 million) and
Nigeria (4 million, 5%).
COUNTRIES WHERE ENGLISH IS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
Main article: List of territorial entities where English is an
In some countries where English is not the most spoken language, it
is an official language ; these countries include
Botswana , Cameroon
(co-official with French ), the
Federated States of Micronesia
Federated States of Micronesia , Fiji
Hong Kong ,
Malta , the
Marshall Islands ,
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , the
Rwanda , Saint
Sierra Leone ,
Singapore , the Solomon
Sri Lanka ,
Sudan , South Africa, South
Zimbabwe . There also are countries
where in a part of the territory English became a co-official
language, e.g. Colombia's
San Andrés y Providencia and Nicaragua's
Mosquito Coast . This was a result of the influence of British
colonization in the area.
India has the largest number of second-language speakers of English
Indian English ); Crystal (2004) claims that, combining native
and non-native speakers,
India has more people who speak or understand
English than any other country in the world.
English is one of the eleven official languages that are given equal
South Africa (
South African English
South African English ). It is also the
official language in current dependent territories of Australia
Norfolk Island ,
Christmas Island and
Cocos Island ) and of the
United States (American
Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands ,
Puerto Rico (in Puerto Rico, English is co-official with Spanish) and
the US Virgin Islands ), and the former British colony of
Hong Kong .
List of countries where English is an official language
List of countries where English is an official language for more
United States federal government has no official
languages, English has been given official status by 32 of the 50 US
state governments. Although falling short of official status,
English is also an important language in several former colonies and
protectorates of the United Kingdom, such as
Cyprus and the
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates .
ENGLISH AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE
English in computing ,
International English , World
World language , and English as a second or foreign
language Countries in which English is the first language of
the majority of the population.
Countries with substantial numbers of English speakers, in most
cases dating back to the British Empire.
Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as
a "world language ", the lingua franca of the modern era, and while
it is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the
language most often taught as a foreign language . It is, by
international treaty, the official language for aeronautical and
maritime communications. English is one of the official languages of
United Nations and many other international organizations,
International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee .
English is studied most often in the European Union, and the
perception of the usefulness of foreign languages among Europeans is
67 percent in favour of English ahead of 17 percent for German and 16
percent for French (as of 2012). Among some of the
non-English-speaking EU countries, the following percentages of the
adult population claimed to be able to converse in English in 2012: 90
percent in the Netherlands, 89 percent in Malta, 86 percent in Sweden
and Denmark, 73 percent in
Cyprus and Austria, 70 percent in Finland,
and over 50 percent in Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovenia, and
Germany. In 2012, excluding native speakers, 38 percent of Europeans
consider that they can speak English.
Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in
many countries around the world, and English is the most commonly used
language in the sciences with
Science Citation Index reporting as
early as 1997 that 95% of its articles were written in English, even
though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking
In publishing, English literature predominates considerably with 28
percent of all books published in the world and 30 percent of web
content in 2011 (from 50 percent in 2000).
This increasing use of the
English language globally has had a large
impact on many other languages, leading to language shift and even
language death , and to claims of linguistic imperialism . English
itself has become more open to language shift as multiple regional
varieties feed back into the language as a whole.
* ^ Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and the
Philippines were never colonies of the British Empire, but of the
* ^ Crystal 2006 , pp. 424–426.
* ^ "Summary by language size". Ethnologue: Languages of the World.
Retrieved 10 February 2015.
* ^ Crystal, David (2003). English as a Global Language (2nd ed.).
Cambridge University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-521-53032-3 .
* ^ Ryan 2013 , Table 1.
* ^ Office for National Statistics 2013 , Key Points.
* ^ National Records of Scotland 2013 .
* ^ Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency 2012 , Table
KS207NI: Main Language.
* ^ Statistics
Canada 2014 .
* ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013 .
* ^ Statistics
New Zealand 2014 .
* ^ Data are from national censuses conducted in 2010 or 2011 in
the reported countries.
* ^ Statistics
South Africa 2012 , Table 2.5 Population by first
language spoken and province (number).
* ^ Crystal 2004b .
* ^ Nancy Morris (1995). Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and
Identity. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 62. ISBN 0-275-95228-2 .
* ^ "U.S. English, Inc". U.S. English. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
* ^ "U.S. English Chairman Applauds West Virginia Bill to Declare
English the States Official Language". U.S. English. Retrieved 23
* ^ A B
David Graddol (1997). "The Future of English?" (PDF). The
British Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 February 2007.
Retrieved 15 April 2007.
* ^ Crystal, David (2003a). English as a Global Language (2nd ed.).
Cambridge University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-521-53032-3 . Retrieved
4 February 2015. Lay summary (PDF) – Library of Congress (sample) (4
February 2015). Northrup, David (20 March 2013). How English Became
the Global Language. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-30306-6 .
Retrieved 25 March 2015. Lay summary (25 March 2015).
* ^ "ICAO Promotes Aviation Safety by Endorsing English Language
Testing". International Civil Aviation Organization. 13 October 2011.
* ^ "IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases" . International
Maritime Organization. Archived from the original on 27 December 2003.
* ^ European Commission (June 2012).
Special Eurobarometer 386:
Europeans and Their Languages (PDF) (Report). Eurobarometer Special
Surveys. Retrieved 12 February 2015. Lay summary (PDF) (27 March
* ^ Northrup 2013 .
David Crystal (2000) Language Death, Preface; viii, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge
* ^ Jambor, Paul Z. (April 2007). "English Language Imperialism:
Points of View". Journal of English as an International Language. 2:
Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 March 2013). "2011 Census
QuickStats: Australia". Retrieved 25 March 2015. Bao, Z. (2006).
"Variation in Nonnative Varieties of English". In Brown, Keith.
Encyclopedia of lang