The spread of the English language is high in comparison to other languages like French, Spanish, Arabic, and many more.
The more proficiency you have in English, the better you can express yourself.
English is being used in 91 states and territories from all 6 continents, which represents 38.4% of the United Nations’ statistically individualized countries.
According to the English language statistics, out of the 6500 spoken languages worldwide, English is the third most spoken language and is taught in over 118 countries.
Whether it is for experienced or confidential reasons, a significance of understanding the English language will help you reach your desired goals.
English as a Lingua Franca:
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) refers to the instruction, education, and use of the English language as a common means of communication for speakers of different native languages.
Today, English is a shared Lingua Franca across the globe and serves as one of the influential languages in many countries. According to some estimates, there are 1,121 million speakers, including native + non-native, and almost 80 percent of English speakers are non-native speakers in this world.
Image Source: Lemon Guard
More than 350 million people in the world speak English as their first language. Nearly half a billion people speak it as their second language.
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) plays a crucial role in former Anglophone colonies such as India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, and many other countries.
Also, in Europe, a Spaniard, a Frenchman, and a German all converse in the English language.
It implies that it is the language of science, computers, diplomacy, technology, and tourism.
So, here are some facts about the spread of the English language and it will show the areas of life where English already serves as a language in the world.
Some Areas in which English serves as a Lingua Franca:
For international political organizations:
A few official languages are required to be chosen for meetings of organizations with large international memberships. Under the United Nations Charter, due to the meetings of the organizations, five languages are chosen:
The official language of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington is English. It is possible to be in an organization without French, but not without the English language. By some estimates, from 1995 to 1996, 85% of such organizations made some official use of the English language.
For science and scholarships:
The most interesting area of English as a lingua Franca is in the field of science and scholarship. The demand for publications in the natural sciences from 1880 to 1996 in the English language was rising rapidly.
It shows that in 1880, only 36% of publications were in English, followed by almost 50% in 1940–50, to 75% in 1980 and 91% in 1996. In 1996, an average of 91% covered the top area of about 94%-95% for physics and mathematics and in the lower terms of about 83% for chemistry only.
For the social sciences and humanities:
Like in science, all the top journals of sociology, political science, and economics are also published in the English language.
Same as, in the social sciences and humanities, the growth of publications in the English language from 1974 to 1995 was also proliferating. In this, the trend increased from 67% in 1974, to about 70% in 1980 and further increased to 83% in 1995.
How did it become a global language?
Currently, there are far more non-native English speakers than native speakers across the globe. It shows that the English language is not only used in the United States or the UK but it is considered a global language used by different cultures.
In addition to the facts mentioned above, below are some more reasons why English has become a global language.
1. Language of International Communication:
English acts as the official language of 57 countries and around 400 million people speak it as their first language.
You can quickly increase your ability to express yourself with people who are from native English-speaking countries and continents.
According to the Ranking of the languages by the vocation of the language for international communication, English ranks first, followed by French and Spanish.
So, here are some facts about the use of English as an international communication language:
- According to the British Council, by 2020, around two billion people will be learning the English language.
- The spread of the English language is high as a comparison to other languages like French (48 countries), Spanish (22 countries), Arabic (26 countries), Russian (11 countries), and many more.
- According to the British Council, 2013, 1/4th of the world’s population speaks the English language as compared with 559 million speakers of all levels of Spanish and 274 million French speakers.
- At the Global level, English has the strongest vocation of language for international communication. 37.2% of the world’s population uses the English language as the national or working language.
2. International organizations and companies need English speakers:
Currently, having proficiency in the English language can help you strive to get more career opportunities than before.
Here are all the interesting facts, figures, and statistics that show that effective communication skills in the English Language affect employee productivity, retention, and trust.
- These days, the job market is global. In addition, many companies need English speakers as their employees who can communicate with partners and clients in the world for business connections with other countries. According to research, many companies see that their productivity increases by 20-25% because of the proficiency shown in candidates.
- More than 80% of Americans believe that effective English communication skills help to build trust among employees. 97% of employees in the world also believe that their communication skills affect their task efficiency daily.
- Having proficiency in English skills also helps you broaden your job search in your country. With this, employee retention increases up to 4.5 times compared to businesses lacking effective communication skills among employees.
- If you can read, write, or speak the English language, you can have more opportunities, and build connections and trust because of your language mastery.
3. English gives access to knowledge in science:
If your ambition is to study science or medicine, you can’t neglect English either.
According to the facts, 55.5% of all web content is in English. This shows how important it is for you to know the Global language, i.e. English. This knowledge of English allows learners to tap into far more of the world’s intellectual resources.
- If anyone wants to learn English, they will educate themselves by accessing a vast amount of knowledge available on the web.
- According to Colombian research (2020), 98% of scientific publications are written in the English language.
- In addition, this survey also shows that 92% of Colombian-published scientific articles are in English and only 4% of their publications are in Spanish or Portuguese language.
- Many doctoral students have declared that their articles have been rejected or revised because of their English grammar.
- Doctoral students experience significant difficulties with reading comprehension and time when publishing scientific articles in a second language.
4. The Principle language of the digital world:
About 565 million people in the world use the internet every day, and an estimated 52 percent of the world’s most visited websites are in the English language.
- Learning English gives you access to more than half of the content on the Internet which helps in enhancing your English skills.
- According to Statista statistics, English is the most described online learning language. The English language accounts for 25.3% of internet users worldwide.
- On Social media like Twitter, although English is the most common language, about 49% of tweets are in second languages, like as Japanese, Spanish, and Indonesian.
- Here, people with proficiency in English will have the opportunity to work, either as freelancers or as employees of cloud-based businesses. A good understanding of English opens new avenues to the available resources.
About 89% of employers believe that English is a language of the truly digital world that is used significantly in the aerospace and defense workplace.
Here are some other sectors where English is highly used:
- For Manufacturing / Engineering (76% used)
- For IT / Computer Services (73% used)
- For Media / Entertainment & Arts (66% used)
Image Source: Speakt
5. English is widely used in academia:
English helps the students in increasing their educational opportunities by enhancing their knowledge.
So, here are some facts that show how the English language is widely used in academics.
- English is increasingly used as the medium of instruction and is often the preferred language for academics. In Europe alone, the number of bachelor’s and master’s programs taught entirely in English increased from 2,389 to 8,089. This figure increased by 239% overall.
- Today, in the Nordic countries, the proportion of the publication of academic articles in the English language is between 70% and 95%, and for research publications, it is 80% to 90%.
- In the field of social science, more than 83% of top journals of sociology, political science, and economics are also published in the English language.
Facts You Need to Know About English:
Today, English demands the highest position in all four respects that are:
- The number of users of the language.
- The range of its usage as an official language.
- The economic power of this language.
- The amount of information transmitted in that language.
The English language has a great reach and influence across the globe and is employed by a majority of internet users for their work.
Through the global influence of the English language, many people use it in the fields of cinema, music, broadcasting, science, and research.
The teaching of English should be taken up to at least a basic level by all because it is very much mandatory in today’s education system.
There are some other facts about English you need to know about it.
So, here are some of them:
- English derives from what is now called northwest Germany and the Netherlands.
- English is the most widespread and spoken language across the globe.
- More than 400 million people use the English vocabulary and phraseology in their mother tongue.
- More than 700 million people around the world speak English as a foreign language.
- In terms of vocabulary, English is the richest language worldwide. To date, there are about 500,000 words listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, and more than 4,000 words are added to the dictionary each year.
- In total, there are 67 countries where English serves as an official language.
- In America, there are a total of 24 different dialects of English.
- More than half of the world’s scientific and technological publications are in English.
- More than 80% of the data stored on computers worldwide is in the English language.
Native vs Non-native Speaker:
Around 378 million people are native speakers who speak English as their first language. It comprises 4.922% of the world’s population. It ranks third in the list of native speakers with the most significant number of speakers. 743 million non-native speakers speak English as their second language.
The following countries are majority native English-speaking countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- New Zealand
- Kitts and Nevis
- Vincent and Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Native English-speaking countries have the following versions of the English language:
- American English
- Australian English
- British English
- Canadian English
- Irish English
- New Zealand English
- Scottish English
- Welsh English
Therefore, Non-Native varieties of English have developed in the following countries:
Here in these countries, English is widely used as a second language, often official, or it is the language used in a broad range of international domains.
Top Countries Having the Greatest Number of Native English Speakers
As of 2020, according to English Language Statistics, there are 1.27 billion speakers with high English proficiency levels in various countries.
In addition, English is an official language in more than 50 countries.
There are some top nations where you find that more than 80% of the population speaks the English language.
Here, the top five countries having the Greatest Number of English-Speakers are:
1. United States: 268M English Speakers
The United States of America is the world’s largest country having more than English speakers. Approximately 225 million Americans utter English as a first language, while 43 million individuals speak it as a second language.
The United States having a total of 268 million English speakers makes it the largest country with an English-speaking population.
2. India: 125M English Speakers
After America, India is next on the list with 125M English Speakers. About 10.67% of the inhabitants of India speak English, which makes India the world’s second-largest English-speaking country after America. South India has a larger English-speaking population.
India — colonized by the United Kingdom until the mid-20th century — has by far the most English speakers, with around 265 million speakers of English.
3. The Philippines: 90M English Speakers
If you talk about the English-speaking country with the third-largest population in the world, then the Philippines occupies third place in the list.
According to English Language Statistics, more than 95% of its residents speak English which serves as an official language.
The Philippines has two official languages- one is Filipino and the other one is English. Around 37,000 Filipinos speak English as their first language. However, slightly over 92% of the population can utter it as their second language.
Of the Filipino-speaking population, it is estimated that the island nation has a 90 million English speaking population.
4. Nigeria: 79M to 100M English Speakers
Nigeria is one of the fourth-best countries with highly populated English speakers.
It is a multilingual country consisting of liberal ethnic groups. The groups have formed a complex landscape through their historical development.
The country claims a population of 206 million. In Nigeria, There are over 525 born languages are spoken. The language of retired colonial British Nigeria, English is an official language of Nigeria having somewhere between 79M and 100M English-speaking population.
Around 53% of the population (79 million people) can speak English in Nigeria, and a small percentage- of the population has native proficiency in the English language.
5. United Kingdom: 60 English speakers
In the United Kingdom, there are approximately 60 million English speakers which places them 5th on this list of the top English-speaking countries. It splits down to 49.8 million orators in England and Wales and 5.1 million speakers in Scotland. Some of the immature languages throughout the United Kingdom include Gaelic and Welsh.
Statistics and English Speakers:
The Statistics for The English Language show that it is widely spoken by a high number of .35 billion people.
In the below facts, English Language Statistics explain:
- How popular is the English language?
- Where will you find most English speakers?
- In which countries is English the official language?
There are countless facts and figures to be getting on with learning about the English language.
How many English speakers are there across the globe?
English speakers are slightly more than 1.12 billion Mandarin Chinese speakers and about 600 billion Hindi speakers.
Being a widely spoken language by the high population, English serves as the most commonly studied international language across the globe.
The below histogram shows the most-spoken languages worldwide by the speakers in millions :
Image source: The Washington Post
English speakers (native and non-native speakers)
English ranks third in the list of native speakers with the most significant number of speakers. On the other hand, 743 million non-native speakers speak English as their second language.
The above facts show that the majority of the population is English speakers, who use the English language as part of today’s communication. Thus good English language skills open a door for many jobs, traveling, and education.
Here are some facts about English speakers:
- English is spoken in some form or dialect by three times as many speakers as native speakers.
- English is a foreign language spoken by almost 750 million speakers.
- The largest English-speaking nation in the world, the United States, has only about 20 per cent of the world’s English speakers.
|Number of native speakers: 378 million
|Number of non-native speakers: 743 million
|Language family: Indo-European
|Writing system: Latin
Image Source: Lemon Guard
The internet uses English:
Ever since the Internet revived the rate of globalization, the bond between the Internet and the English language has had an impact on our digital culture that is prevalent today.
As everyone knows, out of Russian, German, Spanish, and many other languages, English is the only language that is considered to be one of the most assimilated languages used by the Internet.
The reason for sharing the special bond between the English language and the Internet is that the Internet was invented in the United States of America, which is an English-speaking country.
Also, the relationship between them is because of the following facts:
- According to a report by English language statistics, English is the tool used by the internet. This shows 565 million people in the world use the internet every day, and about 54 percent of the world’s most visited websites are in the English language.
- Knowing how to understand English will allow you access to billions of pages of information that may not be otherwise available.
- English is the only language required in the workplace in some countries where other languages, like Sweden, and Holland, serve as their first language.
- Search engines are mostly in the English language, including keywords.
- The terminology of computing is in the English language. That’s why it is known as the English-oriented machine.
How many native speakers are in an English conversation?
Only 360 million are native English speakers, which is in the ratio of 3:1 in acceptance of the non-native-speaking population.
Only 4% of the native speakers are in an English conversation. There are 96% of non-native speakers who own the language and use it as a means of communication with everyone, regardless of their mother language.
There are 7 major English-speaking countries where you will find highly Native speakers in English conversation.
- New Zealand
- South Africa
English is the language of periodical techniques:
Being the universal language of communication, it is considered the best way to convey your research and scientific findings to scientists. More than 50 per cent of the world’s technical and scientific periodicals are in English.
Using a universal language is indispensable for communicating in science. Although English has attained its status without actually going through a democratic process, being a universal form of communication allows for a wider scope and better understanding, which ultimately leads to scientific progress.
English as the language of science and technology will continue to exist while America dominates research in those areas, but as we know from experience, this situation may very well change again.
The number of countries where English is spoken widely:
There are many countries in the world where you will find millions of English-speaking people. There are 118 countries where 840 million English speakers use this global language as their first language.
Here is a comparison chart showing the most prominent languages in descending order of the number of countries where they are spoken.
So, here is the list of the number of countries where English is spoken:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Ireland
- Trinidad and Tobago
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- Sri Lanka
- South Africa
Countries where English is an Official Language:
There are over 67 countries around the world, as well as 27 non-sovereign entities that use the English language as an official language.
The other most common official languages after the English language are French, Arabic, and Spanish. Therefore, these languages are still not nearly as popular as English. French, Arabic, and Spanish- These three languages are official in less than 30 countries.
Here is the list of 35 countries and territories with English as an Official Language:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Dominica Grenada
- Papua New Guinea
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- The Gambia
- St. Lucia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
- The Turks and Caicos Islands
Continued Growth of the English Language
The English language is the result of over 1,500 years of historical upheaval and natural development. The modern English language started its journey with the arrival of three Germanic tribes in the 5th century AD.
English was introduced to Britain during the 5th century AD by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes, traveled the North Sea from Denmark and northern Germany. Also, The English language was then highly influenced by British colonialism, whose effects came from:
- North America
- the Middle East.
During those periods, there was a marked change in pronunciation. And foreign words from many countries are also adopted into the English language.
This development continues today and, in 2009, Web 2.0 became the 1- millionth official word of the English language.
Here are also some points that show the continuing growth of the English language:
- The first English dictionary was published by Samuel Johnson in 1755 and has been extending in size with new words ever since.
- With the Internet age and globalization, this growth has sped up, with about 15 new words being created every day.
- There are now over a million different English words in the English language that make this global language rich with a bundle of new phrases.
Some of the other reasons for the continued growth of the English language are:
- The first is the movement of people across nations and continents, for example, as people migrated over the past centuries and colonization.
- English speakers exchanged and learned from many different worlds with other peers from different colonies. At present, the English-speaking population feels comfortable using the Spanish word “loco” to represent someone who is insane.
- When speakers of one language come in contact with speakers of another language, they share some new words of their language among themselves. When non-native English speakers come into contact with English speakers, they learn many new English words from them. Thus the development of the English language is being seen day by day.
- No two people look and speak alike. People from different geographical locations use distinct words while communicating. Living in a community allows interacting with different people, speaking ages, nationalities, and social and educational backgrounds. For example, some natives use the English word dating instead of the word courting.
- Due to the continuous development of the English language, new vocabulary is being used by many people, which is increasing rapidly day by day.
- The new terminology is used for many inventions in the fields of transportation, industrial equipment, sports, entertainment, and leisure and cultural reasons.
- Every decade sees that new slang terms play a crucial role in the co-evolution of the English language. Because of this, some terms or abbreviations do come from text conversations or the internet.
- A decade ago, the word “blimey” was a new expression of surprise, but today the expression “wow” is used to express surprise.
Therefore, because of these influences, the English language always welcomes new words, utterances, and expressions as people are exposed to new words and phrases in their daily lives and incorporate them into their speech.
Can English have an impact on some Local Languages?
Nowadays, Speaking English is no longer considered something special, it is mandatory for every field like for jobs, attending international conferences, seminars, and many more.
Being the global lingua Franca, the English language gives you many opportunities and makes it possible to communicate with people across the globe and from many different residents.
As a result, English has had a major influence on many other languages, especially in Europe where many words have been adopted outright.
Anglicisms: Borrowed words from the English Language:
An anglicism is a word, phrase, or idiom characteristic of being taken from the English language and used in other languages. Due to the rapid technological change, some countries adopt multiple English words in their native language to support new technology and development, instead of printing a new native word in their languages.
The names of some new inventions and developments are often very difficult to translate, so it is convenient to have only the original English names, e.g. Cloud Computing.
Impact on the Spanish Language:
In the Spanish language, you can find many words that are borrowed from the English language, including updater (to update) and downloader (to download). Many languages have a root word for a computer, but most people prefer to use the English word.
In the fashion language industry, English terminology had a significant influence on other languages. For example, for the Spanish fashion magazine show, they use the phrase homeless style instead of El Luč mas hippie. This phrase stands easy to speak for a monolingual English speaker.
Impact on the German Language:
There is no doubt in believing that Germans love to use new English terms in place of German words.
Germans have not only borrowed newer terms from the English language, but they also replaced some of the common German words with English ones. The words like Scanner or Adapter, have no German equivalent, so the Germans borrowed these simply spoken words from the English language.
Impact on the Japanese language:
One language, in particular, has been impacted by English more than many others is the Japanese language. According to English Language Statistics, around 40% of modern Japanese vocabulary is of English origin.
The influence of English on Japanese is so strong that the Japanese replaced its complex phonology with the English Language. In addition to this, the Japanese also adopted this global language to shorten its complex words and phrases. Examples of this are the Japanese terms “pasokon” by the personal computer, “apato” by apartment’ and sent by software.
Impact on the Maltese language:
Maltese is another language that has been influenced by the English language after Japanese.
The Maltese language itself is a variety of North African Arabic with significant Italic influences from Sicilian and Standard Italian.
By some estimates, about 20% of modern Maltese words are of English origin. The Maltese pronunciation and words of English origins have been under a strong influence.
List of English Vocabulary adapted from Other Languages:
The English language is one of the most comfortable spoken languages worldwide. It is spoken by more than 1/4 of the global population. Thus, the number of words added to the vocabulary is continuously increasing with time.
According to Surveys, 29% of English language words originated from French and Latin.
In addition, the 1000 most commonly used words in English are almost 50% of French origin.
There are a lot of adopted words in English that come from many languages and cultures.
So, here is the list of some common words with foreign origins borrowed from the English language.
- Anonymous (Greek):
This word ‘anonymous’ is derived from the Greek word ‘anonumos’. It refers to the quality or state of being unknown to most people.
- Loot (Hindi):
The word ‘loot’ refers to stolen goods/property and is pronounced in English exactly as it is pronounced in the Hindi language.
- Guru (Sanskrit):
The word ‘guru’ is taken from the Sanskrit language. It refers to a teacher or an expert on the subject. It is pronounced in English exactly, as it is defined and pronounced in the Sanskrit language.
- Safari (Arabic):
The word safari originated from the Arabic language and has been use in the English language. It refers to observing animals in their natural environment.
- Cigar (Spanish):
The word cigar is derived from the Spanish language which refers to a cylinder of dried and fermented tobacco wrapped in tobacco leaves for smoking. Now, this Spanish word has been borrowed from the English language.
The word catalog is a French word that means a list of items or publications. In Greece, the word catalog first started with the word katalegien. Here, it means to pick out or enroll. After Greece, it came to Latin as catalogs and then came to French.
- Wanderlust (German):
The term ‘wanderlust’ derives from the German language and refers to a passionate desire to travel or wander away. This word was borrowed from the English language in 1902.
The Japanese word Karaoke was borrowed from the English language. Therefore, it has become an international phenomenon for entertainment. It is a Japanese word. Karaoke refers to a form of entertainment, offered typically by bars and leagues. Here, people take turns singing popular songs into the microphone on pre-recorded backing tracks.
- Entrepreneur (French):
The term ‘entrepreneur’ originated from the French verb ‘entreprendre’. It refers to someone who undertook a business venture of their own.
The Greek word ‘metropolis’ refers to the mother town of the region that the English have borrowed into their language.
Therefore the below list also shows the English Vocabulary adapted from Other Languages :
- Penguin (Welsh)
- Cookie (Dutch)
- Cartoon (Italian)
- Utensil (French) (Latin)
- Avatar (Sanskrit)
Learning the world’s Lingua Franca – the English language should make you realize it is indeed very beneficial. As the widely spoken language across the globe, English holds an enormous part in every field, especially in communication. Global business goes well because of the English language.
According to the English language statistics, out of the 6500 spoken languages worldwide, English is the third most spoken language worldwide and is taught in over 118 countries. Besides that, it makes the people keep in touch although they have a different language and come from diverse nations.
Many people speak English and in many places, it has been overpowering world communications. It is the language of science, aviation, computers, diplomacy, international communication, the media, and the internet.
Whether it is for professional or personal reasons, understanding the significance of English will help you to achieve your goals in every phase of life. No one doubts that English cannot be separated from human life.