The English Speaking World (1)

The English language spread from Great Britain throughout the world from the 16th to the 19th century as a result of British colonization.  As a result, it became the dominant language of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.    As the U.S. emerged as a world leader in many ways, the English language became established over time as the most widely used language in technology, education, economics, entertainment … etc.  While non-English speaking countries certainly have many great achievements and characteristics, because most of my readers come to this site to learn English I think it’s appropriate to tell them some things about the countries that speak English.


The United States of America

The USA was born on July 4, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, declaring the thirteen British colonies as independent states free from British authority.  Although natives had occupied the land for thousands of years, and Spanish and French forces occupied different regions at various times, Britain prevailed as the great colonizing power until they were defeated in the Revolutionary War in 1783.  Eventually the nation expanded westward, defeating Spanish and Mexican forces to capture the western half of the country.  That’s the reason so many cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Fe, El Paso, San Diego … etc.) and states (Montana, Nevada, New Mexico) have Spanish names.

In 1912 Arizona became the 48th state, completing the contiguous (or “connected”) states that remain to this day.  In 1959 Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states.

Although the USA is the largest English speaking country in the world, it is also one of the largest Spanish speaking countries with 38 million native Spanish speakers.  There are 2.5 million people who speak some Chinese dialect, and more than one million who speak Tagalog, French, Vietnamese, German, and Korean.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States are:

  • Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida

  • Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Times Square in New York City, New York

  • Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada

  • National Mall and Memorial Parks in the capital city of Washington, D.C.

  • Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California

  • Fisherman’s Wharf/Golden Gate Area in San Francisco, California

  • Niagara Falls in New York statevada

  • SeaWorld Orlando in Orlando, Florida

  • San Antonio River Walk in San Antonio, Texas

  • Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, California

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, N.Y.

  • Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Grand Canyon in Arizona

Unlike most of the rest of the world, soccer (or football) isn’t the most popular sport in the United States.  American football is, followed by baseball, basketball, and ice hockey.  Soccer is #5, followed by tennis and golf.


The United Kingdom

The UK is comprised of several countries including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  In addition to 60 million people who speak English, there are over half a million who speak Welsh and Polish, 100,000 who speak Scots and Irish, 275,000 who speak Punjabi, and  175,000 who speak Arabic.

The most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom are:

  • Big Ben in London

  • Tower Bridge in London

  • Tower of London in London

  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, Lancashire

  • The Lake District in Cumbria

  • Buckingham Palace in London

  • Blackpool Tower, Lancashire

  • Houses of Parliament

  • Natural History Museum

  • Westminster Abbey

  • The London Eye

  • Lake Windermere, Cumbria

  • Edinburgh Castle

  • St Paul’s Cathedral, London

  • Stonehenge, Wiltshire

  • White Cliffs of Dover, Kent

David Lyons of the Wallabies in action during the Rugby World Cup Pool A match

The most popular sports in the UK are football, rugby, tennis, cricket, athletics, snooker, motor racing, boxing, golf, and darts.



Canada is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an organization consisting of 53 sovereign nations that are mostly former members of the British Empire.  It is the third largest country for

vancouvernative English speakers with a total of 20 million, although 8 million people speak French which is the official language of the province of Quebec.  It is the second largest country in the world in area, slightly larger than the United States of America.  However, because of its location much of the country is uninhabitable because of the incredibly cold climate.  That’s why the population is only 35 million, which is a little more than 1/10 of the US population.

The most popular tourist attractions in Canada are:

  • Niagara Falls (on the border with the US in southern Ontario)

  • Banff National Park

  • The Rocky Mountains in British Colombia

  • Historic Old Quebec City

  • Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

  • Bay of Fundy

  • St. John’s Signal Hill

  • Polar bear watching in Churchill

  • Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights) in the Northwest Territories

aurora borealis

The most popular sports in Canada are ice hockey, basketball, football, soccer, baseball, cricket, tennis, rugby, curling, and lacrosse.




Australia was colonized by the British in the 19th century, and won its independence in 1901.  As a result it has 15 million native English speakers.  The other 8 million citizens speak one of many languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Greek, Arabic, Vietnamese, and native dialects.  The country has six states – New South Wales, QueensSydney-harbourland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia.  Distinguishing wildlife includes the koala bear, the wallaby,  the dingo,  and the kangaroo.  Australia is also known as the land of origin for the boomerang and the didgeridoo.

The most popular tourist attractions in Australia are:

  • Sydney Harbour

  • The Great Barrier Reef

  • The island of Tasmania

  • The city of Melbourne

  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

  • The Great Ocean Road in Victoria

  • Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory

  • The Gold Coast in Queensland

  • The Barossa Valley in South Australia

  • The Kimberleys in Western Australia



South Africa

south africa blue-monday_2776025
South Africa has 5 million native English speakers, although there are a total of eleven official languages, as well as several unofficial languages.  It is perhaps best known for its struggle against the segregationist policy of apartheid, and the anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.  It is also known for its large mining industry.    It is comprised of nine provinces and is a parliamentary republic.

The most popular tourist attractions in South Africa are:

  • Kruger National Park

  • Table Mountain

  • Amphitheatre, Drakensberg

  • Durban Beaches

  • Knysna

  • Sun City Resort

  • Blyde River Canyon


The most popular sports in South Africa are rugby, soccer (football), and cricket.  Golf, tennis, cycling, and athletics are also very popular.







Ireland has 4 million native English speakers.  The second most popular language is Irish, followed by French and German.  The Irish language (also known as “Gaelige” or “Irish Gaelic”) is the official language, even though it is the first language of a small percentage of the population.

The top tourist attractions are:

  • Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

  • Dublin Zoo

  • Cliffs of Moher

  • National Aquatic Centre, Dublin

  • Book of Kells, Dublin

  • Tayto Park, Co. Meath

  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

  • Fota Wildlife Park, Cork

  • Blarney Castle, Cork

  • Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin

The popular sports of Ireland include Gaelic football, hurling, soccer (football), and rugby.  The individual sports of golf, cycling, swimming, and billiards (snooker) are also very popular.


New Zealand

New Zealand was colonized by the British in the 18th century, and has 3 million native English speakers which represents about 98% of the population.  The remaining 2% speak mostly either Samoan, French, Hindi, or Chinese.

The government is a constitutional monarchy (as a member of the British Commonwealth)  and a parliamentary democracy.

New Zealand is known for its beautiful landscape and protected environment and wildlife.

Among the top tourist spots in New Zealand are:

  •  Milford Sound

  • Bay of Islands

  • Tongariro National Park

  • Franz Josef Glacier

  • Sky Tower

The most popular sports in New Zealand are rugby, cricket, netball, basketball, golf, tennis, and various water sports.


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