Singapore is fifth top non-native English speaking country in the world
While Singapore was the only Asian country to achieve the ranking of "very high proficiency" in English, the Philippines (20th place) and Malaysia (26th place) scored well enough to receive the distinction of having a "high proficiency" in English
EF Education First has released a new English Proficiency Index on the English skills of non-native English speaking countries across the globe. The International education company ranked Singapore as the 5th top non-native English speaking country globally, behind the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
English as a global language
Most of us never give a second thought to the fact that English as a language is so widely spoken across the world. As ubiquitous as it is, we must not take for granted that the development of English into a global language is a remarkable phenomena of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Today, an estimated 1.5 billion people speak English, marking it as the most commonly used language globally. In the history of human society, no other language has achieved such universal status to become the global lingua franca for speakers of diverse world languages.
Of the 1.5 billion English speakers worldwide, the majority are non-native speakers with English as their second language. For hundreds of millions more, English serves as a third or even fourth language.
Those of us who travel know that English can be found in even some of the most remote or “exotic” parts of the world. As someone from the Philippines, I have received plenty a (surprised) comment on how “good” my English is for someone who hails from a non-native English speaking nation.
The English Proficiency Index by EF Education First polled and tested around 2.3 million volunteers—non-native English speakers in 100 countries and over 400 cities and regions globally.
The official results
Very high and high proficiency
The final results showed that the Dutch are the most fluent non-native English speakers across the globe, with 70.27 points out of 100.
After the Netherlands, Sweden was in second place, with a score of 68.74. Norway came in third with 67.93 points.
Another Scandinavian country, Denmark, was marked fourth place, and the only Asian country to make it to the top 10 was Singapore, as the fifth most fluent non-native English speaking country around the world.
Most of the destinations with “very high proficiency” were mostly made up of European countries, but Singapore and South Africa snagged fifth and sixth place, respectively.
In terms of other African nations, Kenya (18th place) and Nigeria (29th place) were marked as countries with a “high proficiency” in English.
While Singapore was the only Asian country to achieve the ranking of “very high proficiency” in English, the Philippines (20th place) and Malaysia (26th place) scored well enough to receive the distinction of having a “high proficiency” in English.
Hong Kong (33rd place), India (34th place), South Korea (37th place), Taiwan (38th place), China (40th place) and Macau (41st place) were the only Asian countries to be ranked as being “moderately proficient” in English.
European countries France (31st place), Spain (35th place) and Italy (36th place) were also marked with having “moderate proficiency” in English. While France’s scores have gone up in the last two years, Spain and Italy still lag behind the rest of the European Union.
Low and very low proficiency
Fellow Asian countries Vietnam (52nd place), Japan (53rd place), Pakistan (54th place) and Indonesia (61st place) did not score as well and were marked as having “low proficiency” in English, while Thailand (74th place) and Cambodia (94th place) are in the “very low proficiency” category.
Of the 100 countries surveyed, Libya was found to have the lowest proficiency in English and is ranked 100th on the index.
The index also found that English was the most widely studied second language in the world, far surpassing any other language. -/TISG