There are a lot of people around the world who can speak some English, even though English isn’t their native language. As a native languages go, Mandarin comes first because there are more people who speak Mandarin as their native, or first, language. Spanish comes second, and English takes third place. However, although there aren’t as many native English speakers as there are native Mandarin and native Spanish speakers, there are a lot of people around the world who can communicate essential information in English.
South America – 5 million English Speakers
In the continent of South America, there are 5 million people who could direct you to the nearest restaurant, but they may not all be able to describe the tastiest menu options.
Oceania – 30 million English Speakers
In the continent of Oceania, there are 30 million people who would be able to tell you where to find a bathroom, but they may not all know enough English to hold an in-depth conversation.
Africa – 237 million English Speakers
The continent of Africa boasts 237 million English speakers. Some of them may be able to get into detailed discussions, but most of them would be able to direct you to your country’s embassy.
North America 334 million English Speakers
North America has 334 million English speakers. The vast majority speak English as their native language, and pretty much all of them would be able to carry on a conversation with you.
Europe – 370 million English Speakers
The continent of Europe has 370 million people who speak at least some English. While not all of them have a conversational language level, they’d be able to comment on things they can see.
Asia boasts the largest number of people who speak some English. That doesn’t necessarily mean they can hold a conversation, but it does mean that they have at least a basic vocabulary and understanding of the language.
The English language started spreading throughout the world during the 17th century as the British Empire expanded. Today, it is the leading language of communication and commerce.