With its 850 million speakers, Mandarin Chinese is certainly the language that is spoken by the largest number of people. Nonetheless today English has become a sort of international language as it is spoken in every corner of the earth. English is in fact the first language of more than 300 million people and it is the second language of a number of people just as large as the native speakers’. Moreover English is used as a foreign language in almost every country, as it is the language of technology, pop music, business, science, diplomacy.
Since English is the official language in about 45 countries, there are at least 45 different ways of speaking this language. These “Englishes” – or English varieties – differ in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and spelling and sometimes the differences are such that speakers from different countries hardly understand each other.
The variations in the language spoken in these English-speaking countries partly reflect the differences as far as culture is concerned. That is why we are going to talk about some of the English-speaking countries, starting from the English common ground and then focusing on their unique characteristics.
For further information see also: UK, CANADA, AUSTRALIA and INDIA.