The Info List - English-speaking Countries

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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
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
American English
, British English
British English
, Indian English
Indian English
, Canadian English
Canadian English
, Australian English , Irish English
Irish English
, New Zealand English and their sub-varieties, countries such as South Africa
South Africa
, the Philippines
, 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


Countries where English is spoken natively by the majority of the population. Main articles: List of countries by English-speaking population and Anglosphere

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
United States
(at least 231 million), the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(60 million), Canada
(at least 20 million), Australia
(at least 17 million), Ireland (4.2 million), and New Zealand
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
United States
(64.3%) United Kingdom (16.7%) Canada
(5.3%) Australia
(4.7%) South Africa (1.3%) Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
(1.1%) New Zealand
New Zealand
(1%) Other (5.6%)

English is also the primary natively spoken language in the countries and territories of Anguilla
, Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
, the Bahamas
, Barbados
, Belize , Bermuda
, the British Indian Ocean Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
, the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
, the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
, Dominica
, the Falkland Islands , Gibraltar
, Grenada
, Guam
, Guernsey , Guyana
, the Isle of Man , Jamaica
, Jersey
, Montserrat
, Pitcairn Islands
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%).


Main article: List of territorial entities where English is an official language

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 , Ghana
, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
, India
, Kenya
, Kiribati
, Lesotho
, Liberia
, Malta
, the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
, Mauritius
, Namibia
, Nigeria
, Pakistan
, Palau
, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
, the Philippines
, Rwanda
, Saint Lucia , Samoa
, Seychelles
, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
, Singapore
, the Solomon Islands , Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
, Sudan
, South Africa, South Sudan
, Swaziland
, Tanzania
, Uganda
, Zambia
and 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.

has the largest number of second-language speakers of English (see Indian 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 status in South Africa
South Africa
( South African English
South African English
). It is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia ( Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island
, Christmas Island
Christmas Island
and Cocos Island
Cocos Island
) and of the United States
United States
(American Samoa
, Guam
, Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
(in Puerto Rico, English is co-official with Spanish) and the US Virgin Islands ), and the former British colony of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
. (See List of countries where English is an official language
List of countries where English is an official language
for more details.)

Although the United States
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 Bahrain
, Bangladesh
, Brunei
, Cyprus
and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates


See also: English in computing , International English , World Englishes , World language
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 the United Nations
United Nations
and many other international organizations, including the 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 countries.

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
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 United States.


* ^ 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
New Zealand
2014 . * ^ Data are from national censuses conducted in 2010 or 2011 in the reported countries. * ^ Statistics South Africa
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 March 2016. * ^ 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 2015). * ^ Northrup 2013 . * ^ David Crystal
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: 103–123.


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