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How many people learn English globally?

Question: How many people learn English globally?

Answer: It is estimated that over 1 billion people are currently learning English world wide. According to the British council, as of the year 2,000 there were 750 million English as a Foreign language speakers. In addition, there were 375 million English as a Second Language speakers. The difference between the two groups amounts to English as a Foreign Language speakers using English occasionally for business or pleasure, while English as a Second Language speakers use English on a daily basis.

These impressive numbers are driven by adult speakers around the world who use English to communicate in the workplace. It is a commonly held misconception that these speakers need English to communicate with native speakers. While ESL is required for those living and working in English speaking cultures such as the UK and USA, it is equally true that English is used as the lingua franca between nations where English is not the primary language. In a globalized world, the number of English learners around the world is only expected to further grow.

For more detailed information on the trends behind English learning around the world, take a look at the British Council's "English Next".

By Kenneth Beare, Guide