Canada will have a third official language

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English speaking countries

There are approximately 400 million people who speak English as their first language, which positions English as the third most native speaker language after Mandarin and Spanish. However, it is the most popular foreign language of all languages. The result of the combination of this popularity as a foreign language and the number of native speakers is that English is the most widely spoken language in the world.

Indeed, English is the official language of 67 different countries and 27 non-independent legal systems. In addition, English is an important language of trade and business and is also the official language of many of the world's most important institutions, such as the United Nations, NATO and the European Union.

What are the main English speaking countries?

English is probably most associated with the United States of America and the United Kingdom, the two largest English-speaking countries. It is estimated that there are approximately 230 million people in the United States who speak English as their first language, making the United States the largest English-speaking country in the world, while the United Kingdom has approximately 60 million native speakers.

Although Canada has two different official languages, it has the third largest English-speaking population with approximately 20 million native speakers. Australia comes fourth on this list. About 17 million people who speak English as their mother tongue live there.

Other major countries in the world where English is spoken as the main language include Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand. In total, there are approximately 13 million native English speakers in these three countries.

An overview of English-speaking countries

Below we provide an overview of some of the major countries that use either Englishde jure orde factohave as the official language. The countries are sorted by continents and regions based on their geographic location. An official language or language is defined as one used during the interaction between the country or government and its residents.

It should be noted that some countries on this list have more than one official language and therefore English may not always be the most widely spoken mother tongue.

North America:

● United States of America

● Canada


● United Kingdom

● Ireland

● Malta


● Jamaica

● Barbados

● Trinidad and Tobago

● the Bahamas

● Guyana


● Australia

● New Zealand

● Papua New Guinea

● Fiji

● Samoa

● Tonga

● the Solomon Islands

● Micronesia

● Vanuatu

● Kiribati


● India

● Pakistan

● Singapore

● the Philippines

● Sri Lanka

● Malaysia


● South Africa

● Nigeria

● Cameroon

● Kenya

● Zimbabwe

● Ghana

● Rwanda

● Sudan

● Botswana

● Ethiopia

How English has spread all over the world

The English language originally came from Great Britain and the historically growing British Empire helped spread modern English throughout the world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many countries that have English as an official language are former British colonies, including Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the United States.

Colonialism also meant that English came to large parts of India and Africa, where it is still widely spoken today. Although Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India today, English is and remains an official language of the country and plays a very important role in university teaching and education as well as in politics.

According to official figures, only 12% of the Indian population speak English, many of them only as a foreign language. However, the population density in India is so high that only 12% of the population already make up over 100 million people. It is therefore not surprising that India has one of the largest English-speaking communities on the planet.

During the 20th century, the United States rose to become one of the great political superpowers, especially in the years after World War II. The influence of the USA in connection with the multitude of films from Hollywood and the journalistic work of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), among other things, led to the fact that the importance of the English language continued to increase and the language continued throughout the rest of the century wider and wider.

English is and remains the only official language of the Commonwealth of Nations and is also the recognized official language of non-independent communities such as Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and the Bermuda Islands.

At the turn of the millennium, English was the most widely spoken and written language that ever existed.