Countries where English is spoken
The countries where English is spoken reflect the cultures of its speakers. In North America, one can expect a people who are assertive, loud-talking, and highly individualistic . In Europe, Britain and Ireland have more subtle and indirect cultures. The Anglosphere is also characterized by countries where English is not the mother tongue. The English accents of Africa denote the diversity of the peoples who inhabit it. There remain a few lesser-known English-speaking strongholds in Asia. Finally, in the corner of the world, Australia and New Zealand keep the spirit of the Commonwealth, even if we like to believe that it has lost its importance.
Moreover, if you have a taste for adventure and want to learn English during your travels, here is an article to find out where to go to learn English .
Let’s go back to our article in which you will discover the places where English is spoken all over the world, accompanied by some miscellaneous facts about the history, culture or accents of these regions. I want to tell you that the wealth of accents in English does not require you to learn them all. If you prefer the American accent, continue with this one. Let’s go !
How many countries where English is spoken?
According to Wikipedia , English is the official language of 55 countries , so it is the language that brings together the most countries of English speakers in the world. Why is English spoken in so many countries? This goes back to the British Empire and its global presence especially in the 19th and 20th centuries. Currently, 32 countries are part of the Commonwealth of Nations , a remnant of British colonization which still brings these countries together on issues of cooperation, security and which organizes the famous Commonwealth Games or Commonwealth Games . In addition, the global influence of the United States has made the importance and even the necessity of this language a reality despite the local languages.
A map of the countries where English is official. In dark blue, English is the native language of the majority of the inhabitants and in light blue, English is a second or third language.
Countries where English is spoken and where it is the native language of the majority of the inhabitants
Above all, the language of Shakespeare is a European language influenced by the Saxons, the Jutes, the Franco-Normans ( 30 to 60% of English is said to come from the Norman ) and other invading peoples in Britain. Who would have thought that these same English would invade the rest of the world?
The invasions that have shaped English over time
Countries where English is spoken in Europe
The countries :
United Kingdom / United Kingdom
England / England
Scotland / Scotland
Wales / Wales
Northern Ireland / Northern Ireland
The Republic of Ireland / The Republic of Ireland
- Malta / Malta
Unsurprisingly, English comes mainly from its country of origin, England. We know the English language well, but what do you know about English culture? For such a small country, England has very different accents from county to county . You immediately recognize the place of origin and the social class of any Briton the moment they open their mouths . Yes, we are fascinated by the royal family and by London, but we also forget that it is a society where social class remains anchored in mores . You may have already seen it in the Game of Thrones series where accents are used for this purpose.
We have already given some tips on how to improve your learning with TV shows . Take time to learn the right tricks.
Apart from tea and the weather, England is also characterized by its architecture, cold for some, formidable for others. This country is also the cradle of pop music (pop music) , and imagine that the last monarchies of Europe would not have survived if it had not been for the Magna Carta (pronounce the G!), known in French as the Magna Carta.
After a very turbulent history, England forms with its neighboring countries, against their will or not, the United Kingdom.
From this union, Ireland (with the exception of the North) takes its independence to become the second English-speaking country in Europe. Dublin is the capital, but locals notice its Britishness in comparison to Cork City, identified as an authentically Irish city . Galway, a western city, is at the gateway to the Gaeltacht where the native language reigns, Irish prevails. Besides, say Irish for this language, avoid calling it Gaelic (Gaelic).
The last European country with English as an official language is the small island country: Malta the destination for the holidays 2021 ! This island is a linguistic curiosity because its native language, Maltese, is closer to Tunisian Arabic than other European languages! Italian remains influential in the country, but the English level of the Maltese is high thanks to its history.
English in North America, excluding the Caribbean
The countries :
Canada / Canada
- The United States / United States
The most well-known English-speaking country is the United States, and rightly so for spreading American culture globally. With the world’s largest economy, the best universities in the world, and media and political influence, American English is, for many, the gold standard when it comes to learning English . If you are interested in the large number of American accents, I invite you to watch the following video by Erik Singer which explains the major accent trends in North America by area.
If you are interested in other English accents around the world, we have already published an Atlas of English Accents . Have fun!
Culturally, Canada is very similar to the United States in surrounding areas. In contrast, Canadians are known for their friendliness, their love of ice hockey, and their so-called “mosaic” multiculturalism . Here is a video released by the Canadian government called “This is Canada NICE” that will show you what is truly Canadian, not to be confused with Americans.
Countries where English is spoken in the Caribbean
The countries :
Antigua and Barbuda / Antigua and Barbuda
Anguilla / Anguilla
The Bahamas / The Bahamas *
Barbados / Barbados
Belize / Belize
Bermuda / Bermuda *
Dominica / Dominica
Grenada / Grenada
Guyana / Guyana
Cayman Islands / The Cayman Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands / Turks and Caicos *
British Virgin Islands / The British Virgin Islands
United States Virgin Islands / The US Virgin Islands
Jamaica / Jamaica
Montserrat / Montserrat
Puerto Rico / Puerto Rico
Saint Kitts and Nevis / Saint Kitts and Nevis , Kitt previously being the nickname for Christopher
Saint Lucia / Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines / Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago
**Strictly speaking, these countries do not touch the Caribbean Sea but are culturally close and therefore counted.
Non-English speaking islands (Suriname, Guadeloupe, etc.) are not included in this list.*
Where in French we speak of the Antilles, the French islands, in the region we say the Caribbean for the countries where we speak English, which includes a dozen independent countries which almost all recognize Elizabeth II as queen . There are a multitude of countries and cultures that make up the Caribbean. Here is an article summarizing the Caribbean countries with a good reason to visit them. For example, the Bahamas has pink beaches, Jamaica is the birthplace of the Rastafarian movement , and Dominica is the only place in the world where the rare imperial amazon can be found .
There is not a Caribbean English accent, but island-specific varieties . We cannot therefore summarize them here, but we can dedicate an article to them if you wish. Indicate it in comment 😉
Here’s a video from one of my favorite channels, Geography Now, explaining the Caribbean for you . He speaks very fast, so I advise you to adjust the speed in the settings if you are not used to such fast spoken English.
If you want to use Youtube to help your English learning, you can follow the tips discussed in the article # Best YouTube Channels to Learn English .
Countries where English is spoken in Asia-Pacific
The countries :
Australia / Australia
New Zealand / New Zealand
- Singapore / Singapore
For a very long time, Australia and New Zealand have been inhabited by indigenous peoples such as the Kooris, Noongars and Maoris. The history of the English language on these islands only begins at the end of the 19th century . Since then very strong ties were maintained with the UK until World War II when the two decided to become independent. This explains the proximity of their accents to ‘ British English ‘ .
We have covered Australian and New Zealand accents in this blog in our article 11 English Accents You Should Know and Recognize . The two accents have many similarities but for those familiar with them, there are distinctions that help tell them apart. Aside from slang, the letters “e” and “i” are very different in the two dialects . Here is a video to explain it to you:
Besides its beaches, Australia is a nation that loves sports . It ranks among the best countries in rugby, cricket, and at the Olympic Games where Australians excel in swimming. They even have their own football called “footy” . If you are not sporty, the very laid back culture (the culture of relaxation) could seduce you.
A few words of Australian English
Not far from Sydney (a three-hour flight anyway), we find the same assets in New Zealand with breathtaking landscapes ( Breathtaking views in English). Don’t forget that Lord of the Rings was filmed here . Do not be surprised if in English you hear Kiwi to speak of a New Zealander, it is completely acceptable and we know how to distinguish them from fruits and birds!
Finally, Singapore, one of the last three city-states in the world , is quite an interesting destination culturally speaking. The country has four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. This is a reflection of its status as a commercial crossroads or commercial hub .
Singaporeans are generally bilingual and a good number of them speak English at home. Malay has the biggest influence on the English accent in Singapore , but it should not be confused with a Chinese accent.
Countries where English is spoken, but where it is the second or third language
English-speaking African countries
Africa is the continent with the highest number of countries declaring English as their official language. This language plays a neutral language status against national languages depending on the country. Indeed, having learned English as a second or third language, most Africans are multilingual . This results in a multitude of English accents and cultures that have nothing to do with those of the United States or Great Britain.
Often, the English accent denotes social class, as English is the business language and the language of higher education in English-speaking countries. Among the upper classes, there are real bilinguals who often have a very good level in their native language and in English. Generally, these accents are close to British English due to the very recent history with the United Kingdom and the links with the Commonwealth, such as in Australia. The influence of American pronunciations is relatively new, but it is the local languages that will impact them the most and vary the accent.
Among rural populations or poor urban areas, the level of English is not necessarily lower, but the accent is very influenced by the native language, which can make understanding more difficult for those who do not know it. are not used to.
English in Southern Africa
South Africa / South Africa
Botswana / Botswana
Eswatini / Eswatini
Lesotho / Lesotho
Malawi / Malawi
Namibia / Namibia
Zambia / Zambia
- Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe
The region of Southern Africa – the land of my origins – is very influenced by South Africa, the regional economic power. Although around 4% of South Africans have British ancestry, the language is spoken at a very good level in all four corners of the country with its peculiarities influenced by Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans (not to be confused with African ).
Our accent is often confused with that of Australia, but in my opinion there are more similarities with that of New Zealand. These influences can be heard in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe where sometimes the slang is the same. Generally, the English spoken in eastern South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia is more reminiscent of British English. For example, Charlene the Princess of Monaco has one of the typical accents of the region.
The English spoken in western South Africa and Namibia is heavily influenced by Afrikaans. Because of their histories, the accents of Botswana and Lesotho are different and unique in each of these countries.
Slang in South Africa
The region offers activities and places not to be missed. If you like nature, you can go to Kruger National Park (SA) for the animals, you can brave the desert in Namibia or immerse yourself in the wonders of the Okovango Delta (Botswana). Don’t forget the unmissable visit to the magnificent Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe).
If thrills appeal to you, the world’s highest bungee jump is at Bloukrans Bridge or skiing in the summer (winter is August there) in Lesotho. Cape Town offers a European vibe accompanied by its famous wines, Table Mountain and the beautiful Garden Route. For history lovers, the city of Johannesburg is the best place to discover South Africa’s tumultuous history. Alternatively, you can follow the trail to the medieval city of Greater Zimbabwe in the country of the same name.
Last news item: in this region we don’t say football , but rather soccer !
English in West Africa
The countries :
Nigeria / Nigeria
Ghana / Ghana
Sierra Leone / Sierra Leone
The Gambia / The Gambia
- Cameroon / Cameroon
Two countries oppose each other in this region: Nigeria, the first African power, and Ghana. Two words come to mind: Jollof Wars . The citizens of both countries love to throw spades at each other to prove who is the best and this is most visibly manifested through the Jollof Wars . If it’s not clear yet, Jollof Rice is a delicious dish cooked in many ways in West Africa. In France, the Senegalese version is better known as thieboudienne.
More recently, Ghana had launched the Year of Return in 2019, a year when the government invited all Afro-descendants in America (and around the world) to come and discover the country from which they would have been sent for the triangular trade. They organized concerts, art festivals, cultural tours and other events, making Accra the next gateway to Africa .
We invite you to watch this quite funny video on the differences between a Nigerian accent and a Ghanaian accent. You will notice that Ghanaians speak with their mouths more open while Nigerians tend to restrict their mouths. In Nigeria, the O and the U are often close together. In Ghana, the sound of er/ur is more reminiscent of what is heard in the word stair than stir .
In the video, they illustrate this “Jollof War” notion where one calls Ghanaian Jollof poison, and the other replies that Nigerian Jollof is Dumpster rubbish juice .
Better known as a Hindi-speaking country, Cameroon has an English-speaking minority. Unfortunately, tensions between Francophones and Anglophones are igniting and it is to be hoped that the English language manages to keep its place.
English in East Africa
The countries :
Kenya / Kenya
Mauritius / Mauritius
Tanzania / Tanzania
Uganda / Uganda
- Rwanda / Rwanda
The Central Asian Silk Road is well known, but did you know that during the same period maritime trade took place in the Indian Ocean between China, the Middle East and East Africa ? Indeed, East African countries have a common history that predates the arrival of Europeans, evidenced by the continued dominance of the Swahili language for intra-regional trade.
In a way, today the presence of the English language makes it possible to perpetuate this cooperation and the economic indicators show that it is the most prosperous region in Africa , enough to attract business in a globalized world.
Besides, you may be wondering why Rwanda, a Hindi-speaking country by its history, is included in this list. Let’s say that the geopolitical relations between Rwanda and France remained quite tense; this country preferred to align itself with its English-speaking neighbours. There is also no denying the importance of the English language on a global scale. Along with the (Mozambique}(WORLD-MOZAMBIQUE), it is one of two Commonwealth countries that have no history with the British crown, both being surrounded by English-speaking countries.
English speaking countries in South Asia
The countries :
India / India
Pakistan / Pakistan
- Sri Lanka / Sri Lanka
India is a big country made up of many cultures, landscapes, languages and singular monuments. The country is practically a universe that is in a country . Let’s start with what India has given to the world.
Did you know that the game of chess comes to us from India? This country has also contributed to the development of mathematics and it is thanks to Indian intellectuals that we have algebra, trigonometry, calculation, and the decimal system . We have already covered the subject of ordinal numbers in English if you are interested in taking a look. India is also the cradle of Buddhism and Jainism. The country is also rich in gastronomy and the four corners of the country offer varied and sumptuous dishes. You just have to learn to appreciate spices and peppers! Incidentally, the UK’s national dish is chicken tikka marsala. In France, we are more used to “cheese naan”, a way of recreating the famous Indian bread à la bonne franquette.
Virtually all English-speaking countries have a large population of Indian origin (all ethnicities combined). The major cities of the Indian diaspora are New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Georgetown (Guyana), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Durban (South Africa), Singapore and Port Louis. (MAURITIUS ISLAND).
As it is a big country, this video is more practical to give you more information about English in India, its particularities and the accents that can be heard there.
Pakistan is also an English-speaking country that was part of India for a long time, but decided to secede to become the first country in the name of Islam. If the Commonwealth is made up of republics and countries that still recognize the British crown, it is thanks to its inaugural Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, but in spite of him.
Finally, let’s not forget Sri Lanka, historically prized for its strategic position. It is a champion country in cricket and the population is predominantly Buddhist. A minority of Tamils live there and the golden lion on their flag represents the Sinhalese majority. The Island can also boast of having been the first country to appoint the first female head of government in the world, Sirimavo Bandaranaike in the contemporary era.
English speaking countries in Southeast Asia
The countries :
Malaysia / Malaysia
- Hong Kong / Hong Kong
We have already mentioned Singapore, but we must also talk about Malaysia, the country of which he was a part before his exclusion . Much larger and more diverse, at least 50% of Malaysians have some knowledge of English. In general, the level of English is very high in the cities, especially in the capital Kuala Lumpur or in Penang . The level becomes variable as soon as one goes to the smallest towns.
Finally, there is “Hong-Kong” (written “Hong Kong” in English) known to have been returned to China in 1997 after more than 90 years of British presence, an event broadcast around the world. Despite this history and the recognition of English as an official language, according to our research, the use of English is in decline. Cantonese remains dominant in the family sphere , but the importance of Mandarin seems to have supplanted that of English since the departure of the colonial administration. Remember that the mighty Chinese city of Shenzhen is next door. Especially since Shanghai has gradually replaced Hong Kong as a gateway to
Here is an excerpt from the Hong Kong accent
A world map of countries where English is spoken?
We would have liked to provide you with a map of the world of places where English is spoken to conclude this article, but we will content ourselves with offering you several websites that present the way of speaking English around the world.
English Accents Map
The English Accents Map site focuses on the accents found in the United States and the United Kingdom. For each region, the site shows you a video of someone speaking with an accent unique to that region.
To start, there is the Dialects Archive site which lists all the accents and dialects of a country. Do not hesitate to click on one of the countries mentioned in this article to listen to the variety of specific accents found there.
A little similar to the Dialects Archive, the Localingual site presents the accents of all the languages of the world. The interface is more playful but there are not as many accents and dialects.
The last words
Indeed, by learning English, you don’t just learn an influential language, you get the key to a diverse world. From Atlanta, to Kingston, via Brighton, Valletta and Johannesburg to Mumbai, the countries where English is spoken are spread over all the continents of the world and you only have to follow your desires to take you on a trip .
We hope this article has opened your eyes to interest in other countries that we haven’t talked about much in this blog and that it has sparked your desire to learn even more English. and its cultural aspects which are singular and varied . Leave us a comment if you want us to explore a particular region in more detail.
And finally, you would be interested in learning how to say the nationalities of these countries in English, so I direct you to the article Countries and nationalities . . Enjoy reading and see you soon !