English: Who speaks English? | The Economist (via @ddeubel)

Who speaks English?

EVERYONE knows the stereotypes about foreigners speaking English: Scandinavians are shockingly fluent, while the Japanese lag despite years and billions of yen spent trying. Now a big new study confirms some of those stereotypes. But it holds some surprises as well.

EF Education First, an English-teaching company, compiled the biggest ever internationally comparable sample of English learners: some 2m people took identical tests online in 44 countries. The top five performers were Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The bottom five were Panama, Colombia, Thailand, Turkey and Kazakhstan. Among regions, Latin America fared worst. (No African country had enough takers to make the lists’s threshold for the minimum number of participants.)

Realistically, this study doesn’t mean much. The method is Swiss cheese (lots of holes). It is, none-the-less, interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *