English Speaking Countries in Europe
By: Vanessa Anderson
With the Br-exit, there has been some buzz about the importance of the English language in Europe. All English-speaking countries in Europe use it as a second language. And with the UK taking its leave, the importance of English has been under the microscope ever since.
From the statement given by the President of European Commission in 2017 where he switched to French, it seems that English translation services were to become a necessity.
However, as of 2019, Europe has been unable to eliminate the English language from its midst. And the major reasons are all the countries in Europe that speak English.
List of the European Countries and Percentage of Their English Proficiency
All European countries speak some level of English. Here is a list of top ten based on the adult population.
English hit Belgium really hard in 2015 when the people enhanced their overall English level. And that boosted them straight to the top ten European countries that speak English.
With a proficiency of 61.58%, Belgium is now on a topper’s of the list.
While the Polish language is working to make its own place in the UK, it is because of the increase in the rate of Poles that travel abroad. Due to this increased level, the people of Poland have realized the importance of English in the international world.
And with this knowledge, they have managed to increase their English proficiency level to 62.07%.
Austria has an amazing aptitude for languages. Well - considering the fact that it shares a border with eight different countries, it’s not as surprising. With an English proficiency of 62.18%, Austria is also among the English speaking countries.
Germans have always been very efficient in industrial aspects. And in the interest of that efficiency, they have always had a strong grip on the English language. It is after all the language of today’s business. With a proficiency of 62.35%, Germans dominate the European business.
In Luxembourg, 64.57% of the adult population is proficient in English. And the richness of the country in regards to language is not a surprise because just like Austria it also falls under the category of landlocked countries.
With Finland, the list starts moving a bit towards the north. With a population of 5.5 million people, 65.83% of them are highly proficient in English. No wonder English is not going anywhere.
With a proficiency of the English language up to 67.77%, Norway truly displays the enthusiasm of having English as a second language. So it is only fair that this country is on the list.
In these areas, the Norse language seems to have a great influence on the English language as it has been occupied by Vikings for a very long time.
As the list progresses, the names of the countries don’t come with a shocking element. While Danish also remains high in demand, but the English proficiency supersedes with 69.93%. And that is just the count of the adult population.
With the proficiency of 70.40% in English, Sweden is as near-native as they come. The presence of English remains strong to date.
The Dutch supersede the Swedes in their percentage of English proficiency by 71.45%.
In addition, we also have Ireland and Malta with a whopping percentage of the English-speaking population. Percentages for other countries are as follows:
- Cyprus 43.07%
- Slovenia 34.37%
- Greece 32.66%
- Latvia 27%
- France 24%
- Lithuania 20%
- Romania 17%
- Portugal 15%
- Italy 13%
- Hungary 12%
- Bulgaria 12%
- The Czech Republic 11%
- Spain 11%
With all these percentages, it is safe to say that English is not leaving Europe any time soon. With English being the language of business around the world and the language of the internet, it doesn’t seem wise to eliminate English anyhow.
In fact, there is a new version of English “Euro-English” emerging and it seems to be getting traction.
The Phenomenon of “Euro-English”
In Europe, English is majorly spoken as a second language. And now that the native speakers are nowhere to be found, the English language is developing a somewhat European touch, with people naturally accepting the flow.
As a result, the English that is spoken in Europe now may even be deemed incorrect by the standards of the UK. Yet, it is spoken and understood among the majorities of European countries.
Some words such as “handy” for a mobile phone or the use of “I am coming from” instead of “I come from” may not make sense to the British or even the Americans. But these are widely understood phrases in the European countries.
The UK’s departure from the EU has really highlighted English. And by the looks of it, it can go either way. It can either be the end of English in Europe or the start of a Euro-English era.
All that is left for us is to wait and see whether this gets an official recognition and we get a new version of an English dictionary or this is just dust that will settle eventually.
English has been quite a buzz around Europe ever since the UK left. It seemed that the authorities intended the English language to leave with the English people.
Yet, it seems that that is not to happen. Most of the European countries have a great percentage of English proficiency.
Even in the countries that don’t have a big percentage to show do speak somewhat English. Moreover, it has also become the language of international business and the language of the internet population.
So the elimination of the English language from Europe does not seem like a possibility. However, there is another phenomenon emerging in the midst of this hassle.
It seems that with the departure of the native speakers, European English is taking on a different color and is starting to be known as Euro English. Whether or not this becomes official, only time can tell.