Over 2 billion people speak English, [ circular reference ] and the third largest language by number of native speakers. With 300 million native speakers, the United States of America is the largest English-speaking country. As pictured in the pie graph below, most native speakers of English are Americans.making English the largest language by number of speakers,
Additionally, there are 60 million native speakers in the United Kingdom, 29 million in Canada, 25.1 million in Australia,[ citation needed ] 4.7 million in the Republic of Ireland, and 4.9 million in New Zealand.
In the European Union, English is one of 24 official languages and is widely used by institutions, and by a majority of the population as the native language in the United Kingdom and Ireland and as a second language in other member states.
Estimates that include second-language speakers vary greatly, from 470 million to more than 2 billion.David Crystal calculates that, as of 2003, non-native speakers outnumbered native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. When combining native and non-native speakers, English is the most widely spoken language worldwide.
Besides the major varieties of English, such as American English, British English, Canadian English, Australian English, Irish English, New Zealand English and their sub-varieties, countries such as South Africa, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from English-based creole languages to Standard English. Other countries such as Ghana and Uganda also use English as their primary official languages.
As of 2012, India claims to have the world's second-largest English-speaking population. The most reliable estimate is around 10% of its population (125 million people), second only to the U.S., and is expected to quadruple in the following decade.
There are six large countries with a majority of native English speakers that are sometimes grouped under the term Anglosphere. In numbers of English speakers they are: the United States of America (at least 231 million),the United Kingdom (in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) (60 million), Canada (at least 20 million), Australia (at least 17 million), Republic of Ireland (4.8 million) and New Zealand (4.8 million).
English is also the primary natively spoken language in the countries and territories of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey, Guyana, the Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.
Another substantial community of native speakers is found in South Africa (4.8 million).
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), Eswatini (Swaziland), Fiji, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, the Federated States of Micronesia, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. There also are countries where in a part of the territory English became a co-official language, in Colombia's San Andrés y Providencia, China's Hong Kong, Honduras’s Bay Islands, and Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast. This was a result of the influence of British colonization and American colonization in these areas.
India has the largest number of second-language speakers of English (see 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. However, most scholars and research that has been conducted dispute his assertions.Pakistan also has the English language (Pakistani English) as a second official language after the Urdu language as the result of British rule (Raj), making Pakistan the only Islamic country in which English is official. Sri Lanka and The Philippines use the English language, too, as the second and third official language after Sinhala, Tamil, and Filipino.
English is one of the eleven official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (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 of America (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico (in Puerto Rico, English is co-official with Spanish) and the US Virgin Islands),and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
Although the United States federal government has no official languages, English has been given official status by 32 of the 50 US state governments.Furthermore, per United States nationality law, the process of becoming a naturalized citizen of the US entails a basic English proficiency test, which may be the most prominent example of the claim of the nation not having an official language being belied by policy realities.
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.
Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a "world language", the lingua franca of the modern era, [ citation needed ]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 and many other international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee. It is also one of two co-official languages for astronauts (besides the Russian language) serving on board the International Space Station.
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 [update] ). 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, Croatia, 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 scienceswith 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 [leclerc 2011][ full citation needed ] and 30 percent of web content in 2011 (down 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.
The use of the English language in most current and former member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations was inherited from British colonisation. Mozambique is an exception – although English is widely spoken there, it is a former Portuguese colony which joined the Commonwealth in 1996. English is spoken as a first or second language in most of the Commonwealth. In a few countries, such as Cyprus and Malaysia, it does not have official status, but is widely used as a lingua franca.
Spanish, or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 483 million native speakers, mainly in Spain and the Americas. It is a global language, the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese, and the world's fourth-most spoken language, after Mandarin Chinese, English and Hindi.
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Spoken English shows great variation across regions where it is the predominant language. This article provides an overview of the numerous identifiable variations in pronunciation; such distinctions usually derive from the phonetic inventory of local dialects, as well as from broader differences in the Standard English of different primary-speaking populations.
The most commonly used language in the United States is English, which is the de facto national language. Nonetheless, many other languages are also spoken, or historically have been spoken, in the United States. These include indigenous languages, languages brought to the country by colonists, enslaved people and immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia. There are also several languages, including creoles and sign languages, that developed in the United States. Approximately 430 languages are spoken or signed by the population, of which 176 are indigenous to the area. Fifty-two languages formerly spoken in the country's territory are now extinct.
The United States has 41 million people aged five or older who speak Spanish at home, making Spanish the second most spoken language of the United States by far. Spanish is the most studied foreign language in the United States, with about six million students. With over 50 million native speakers, heritage language speakers and second language speakers, the United States now has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico, although it is not an official language of the country. About half of all American Spanish speakers also assessed themselves as speaking English "very well" in the 2000 U.S. Census. This percentage increased to 57% in the 2013–2017 American Community Survey. The United States is among the Spanish-speaking countries that has its own Academy of the Spanish Language.
Languages spoken in India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by 78.05% of Indians and the Dravidian languages spoken by 19.64% of Indians. Languages spoken by the remaining 2.31% of the population belong to the Austroasiatic, Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai and a few other minor language families and isolates. India (780) has the world's second highest number of languages, after Papua New Guinea (839).
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Many countries and national censuses currently enumerate or have previously enumerated their populations by languages, native language, home language, level of knowing language or a combination of these characteristics.