who speaks best english

The English Cup


Danes, Dutch, Finns, Norwegians

Who speaks the best English (outside of anglophone countries)?

According to the British Council, a UK-based organisation involved in transnational education and culture, the winners are the Dutch and Scandinavians.

This should come as no surprise to anyone in the tourist industry.


So what’s their secret?

A combination of factors come into play, say the experts.


One has to do with wealth: the richer the country, the better their English, in general.

If that were entirely the case, French, Italians, and Spaniards would also rank rear the top. But they don’t.

Which brings along another element, population size.


Unlike per capita GDP however, this has an inverse relationship: the larger the number of speakers of a language, the less their overall proficiency of English.

Residents of smaller countries usually speak better English…

Unless they are south of the Rio Grande: of the world’s major regions, Latin America fared the worse.


Trade also plays a role. Countries that export more have a better command of English. Examples include Malaysia and Singapore, the best English-performers in Asia.

But that still does not explain why Japan and Korea rank moderately, despite massive investments by both in time and money.

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1. People in the tourist industry know that……..

2. The article lists several factors that influence a country’s fluency in English.
Elaborate on each, give explanations and examples.

a) Wealth or per capita GDP

b) Population size or number of language speakers

c) Trade

3. What is meant by investments in time and money?

4. What other reasons are there to explain the success of the Dutch and Scandinavians in English?

5. What might explain the relative mediocre performance by Japanese, Koreans, and Latin Americans?


A. English is widely spoken in my country. Yes or no?

B. Does every student have to study English in school?

C. At what age do students begin?

D. Describe the teaching methods and techniques.

E. There are foreign teachers in my school. True or false?

F. Knowing English is very important in my country. What do you think?

G. You are the Minister of Education (or Commerce) How could you improve the nation’s English? Is this a worthwhile goal to begin with?


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