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Author Topic: Advanced countries/territories where English is the primary language  (Read 654 times)
Blue3
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« on: April 20, 2016, 02:53:46 am »
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I'm trying to come up with a list of all the countries with at least a somewhat-advanced economy where English is the primary language (or territory, if they're in a country that overall isn't primarily English).

So far I can think of...
1. United Kingdom
2. United States
3. Canada
4. Australia
5. New Zealand
6. Ireland

And I've heard it's also the primary language in...
7. Singapore
8. Hong Kong (China)


I wouldn't count countries like India because, even though India is relatively advanced now and English is their official language (and what's taught in school, and the only language that really reaches all regions of India unlike Hindi) it still isn't used as the primary language by most Indians, their regional language is, which I can say for sure after living in India for a month and being in some of their markets where communication was difficult.

Also, can someone with some more experience with Hong Kong or Singapore fact-check me on that... like is most of the population well-versed in spoken English and the place has signs in English, or is it more like India?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 02:58:17 am by Blue3 »Logged
Cranberry
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 09:16:02 am »
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English is a co-officual language in Malta, albeit together with Maltese. I understand the latter is the native tongue, but the former seems to be (near)-universally spread as well, as Malta is one of the top destinations for European student language travels.
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 09:53:14 am »
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English-speaking_world
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Blue3
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 12:56:03 pm »
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Oh ok, Malta can count if just about everyone there can still speak English well.

I already looked that up. Like I said, there's places where English is the official language but hardly anyone there is actually educated in English, or not everyone speaks it well.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 01:03:35 pm by Blue3 »Logged
danny
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 01:23:14 pm »
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What do you mean by primary language? I have been to Hong Kong, and while you can easily get around with English, Cantonese is the obvious main language and the one that the locals all speak with each other.
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 01:40:56 pm »
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South Africa.

I think Kenya, Nigeria, and India use it a lot.
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Blue3
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2016, 01:41:52 pm »
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What do you mean by primary language? I have been to Hong Kong, and while you can easily get around with English, Cantonese is the obvious main language and the one that the locals all speak with each other.
Well that's one I had a question about. Do you feel like you could have an fluent, easily-understandable English conversation with just about anyone in Hong Kong?
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2016, 05:51:05 pm »
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Well that's one I had a question about. Do you feel like you could have an fluent, easily-understandable English conversation with just about anyone in Hong Kong?
No. I've lived in HK. There is a small minority of elites and expats who can speak perfect English, a professional/educated class that speaks passable English, many people who know some English, and many who don't know English at all, especially when you got into the New Territories. You can live in HK without speaking Cantonese, and the locals will not disrespect you for it, but you certainly can't live like a native with only English.

In Singapore, English is indeed the primary language used in public, although ethnic languages are probably used more often at home. Singapore is a true English-speaking country.

Malaysia probably fit into this category years ago, but years of government-sponsored Malaysian cultural/linguistic supremacy policies have caused English levels to decline there a lot outside of the major cities.
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Blue3
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2016, 08:00:23 pm »
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Well that's one I had a question about. Do you feel like you could have an fluent, easily-understandable English conversation with just about anyone in Hong Kong?
No. I've lived in HK. There is a small minority of elites and expats who can speak perfect English, a professional/educated class that speaks passable English, many people who know some English, and many who don't know English at all, especially when you got into the New Territories. You can live in HK without speaking Cantonese, and the locals will not disrespect you for it, but you certainly can't live like a native with only English.

In Singapore, English is indeed the primary language used in public, although ethnic languages are probably used more often at home. Singapore is a true English-speaking country.

Malaysia probably fit into this category years ago, but years of government-sponsored Malaysian cultural/linguistic supremacy policies have caused English levels to decline there a lot outside of the major cities.
Cool, this is what I was hoping this thread would do, invite people to confirm these stats using their own personal experiences.
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2016, 08:08:20 pm »
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Nigeria and Ghana
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2016, 09:16:57 pm »
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What about Jamaica and some other Caribbean countries?
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Blue3
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2016, 09:19:21 pm »
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Nigeria and Ghana
Doesn't only 5% of people in Nigeria speak English?? Not sure about Ghana off the top of my head.


Also not sure if they, or Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, have advanced economies.
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Clarko95
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2016, 11:20:36 pm »
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In Sweden it isn't the primary language, but virtually everyone speaks it flawlessly, so they have to get an honorable mention.
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2016, 12:21:21 pm »
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Nigeria and Ghana
Doesn't only 5% of people in Nigeria speak English?? Not sure about Ghana off the top of my head.


Also not sure if they, or Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, have advanced economies.

The only Sub-Saharan African countries which are even arguably "advanced" are Botswana and South Africa. There are some fairly advanced countries in the Caribbean - Trinidad, for example.
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2016, 01:30:43 am »
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Not mine, to say the least.

Also, not sure in what Malta is advanced exactly, Templiers architecture? Or, yeah, student travel to 'learn English under the sun!!'. Or, eventually tax and shipfrauding.
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2016, 05:48:45 am »
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Nigeria and Ghana
Doesn't only 5% of people in Nigeria speak English?? Not sure about Ghana off the top of my head.


Also not sure if they, or Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, have advanced economies.

How would you define an advance economy? Bahamas has impressive GDP stats, but that isn't really reflected in living standards.

What about overseas territories as well? Places like Guam or Bermuda. And from what I've heard, English is the lingua franca in the Dutch Carribean territories like Curacao and Aruba.
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ingemann
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« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2016, 11:04:01 am »
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In Sweden it isn't the primary language, but virtually everyone speaks it flawlessly, so they have to get an honorable mention.

Not really, this also count for all the other Nordic countries plus Netherlands (which have the same reputation). Don't get me wrong the average Swede are far better at English than the average German, Spaniard, Pole, Frenchman or many other European nationalities, and the people you're most likely to meet as a tourist (in Stockholm) or student do speak the language close to flawless. But leaving the usual international safe space and suddenly will deal with large groups of people who may understand English, but whose skill at speaking the language goes from heavily accented to broken pidgin.
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