English language resources
English is spoken on a daily basis in: Zimbabwe, India, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Jamaica, Lesotho, Malaysia, Nauru, Niue, Panama, South Africa, Antigua, Australia, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, Gambia, Ghana, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Niue, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia
Additional background on
English is a widely distributed language originating in England, now part of the United Kingdom, and is currently the primary language in several countries. It is extensively used as a second language and as an official language in many other countries, is the most widely taught and understood language in the world, and sometimes is described as a lingua franca.
An estimated 400–450 million people speak English as their first language. A recent estimate is that 1.9 billion people, nearly a third of the world's population, have basic English proficiency. English is the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, diplomacy and the Internet. It has been one of the official languages of the United Nations since its founding in 1945.
English is a West Germanic language which developed from Old English, the language of the Anglo-Saxons. English, having its major roots in Germanic languages, derives most of its grammar from Old English. As a result of the Norman Conquest and other events in English history, it has been heavily influenced in terms of vocabulary by French and Italian. From England it spread to the rest of the British Isles, then to the colonies and territories of the British Empire (outside and inside the current Commonwealth of Nations) such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others, particularly those in the Anglophone Caribbean. As a result of these historical developments English is the official language (sometimes one of several) in many countries formerly under British or American rule, such as Pakistan, Ghana, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and the Philippines.
Mandarin Chinese and Hindi have more native speakers than does English; however, the geographic distribution of Mandarin and Hindi, as both first and second languages, is more limited than that of English. English also is the most widely spoken Germanic language. English spread to many parts of the world through the expansion of the British Empire, but did not acquire lingua franca status in the world until the late 20th century, when American culture became to overpower that of others on the global scale. Following World War II, the economic and cultural influence of the United States increased and English permeated other cultures, chiefly through development of telecommunications technology. Because a working knowledge of English is required in many fields, professions, and occupations, education ministries throughout the world mandate the teaching of English to, at least, a basic level (see English as an additional language).
What are the most spoken languages on earth?
All data is derived from UNESCO.