31 October 2023

Why is English the Universal Language?

If you are learning English at the moment, it’s most likely for academic purposes, job advancement, or perhaps personal ones such as having an English-speaking partner. 

English is becoming the most frequently spoken language in the world and it seems like everyone is studying it these days. Around the world, people use it for trade and business, and in regions like Europe, people speak it for tourism as well.

Approximately 20% of the world’s population speaks English, with around 400 million people speaking it natively and an additional 1.5 billion who speak it as their second or foreign language.

But, why? Why is English the all-encompassing language that everyone aspires to speak with fluency? How did it come to be so widely accepted and significant?

In this guide, we’ll explore why the English language is the most widely spoken language and the countries that speak English as a first or official language!

English in Multilingual Nations

The United States and the United Kingdom immediately spring to mind as nations where English is spoken as a first language. However, did you know that a lot of other countries have accepted English in addition to their original tongues? We’ll examine a few of these nations below and calculate the global English-speaking population:


India is the country with the second-largest population in the world, after China, with about 1.3 billion people. Even though Hindi is officially recognised as the national language, English is nevertheless widely used in regional business and education. 

India is the nation with the most English speakers behind the United States and the United Kingdom, with about 125 million people speaking the language.


Nigeria has a large population and a variety of languages. English is the official language and is frequently used for business and media communication, even though more than 500 indigenous lingos are spoken all throughout the country. About 60 million Nigerians speak English.


English is one of the two official languages of Pakistan. It is widely utilised in both corporate and educational settings, and proficiency in it is regarded as a necessary ability for career progression. English is spoken by about 49% of people in Pakistan, mostly as a second language.

South Africa

English is one of the eleven official languages recognised by South Africa. Many South Africans speak proficient English alongside Afrikaans or other indigenous languages like Zulu and Xhosa as a result of British colonisation.

5 Reasons why English has become today’s primary language

So we’ve discovered some of the countries where speaking English as a universal language has become the norm, now it’s time to find out why!

British Empire

The British Empire is the primary and most evident factor behind the initial widespread adoption of English. Prior to colonising about 25% of the globe, English was exclusively spoken by Britons and was only spoken in the British Isles. 

However, the language naturally spread as people colonised and settled all over the world, engaging in trade with regions like Asia and Africa. But, as most people continued to speak their own native language, it was mostly utilised in administrative and commercial contexts.

However, schooling was received exclusively in English. Therefore, learning English and speaking it evolved into a kind of elitist language that was only spoken by people with a background in philosophy, literature, and poetry—much like French had been when it was the most frequently spoken tongue.

The impact of the United States

It is impossible to overlook the enormous influence that the world’s superpower of the 20th century had on English’s expansion as a global language.

English’s global dominance has been cemented by Americans’ projection of their cultural, political, economic, and military might on the international scene, particularly after the end of World War II. English has become widely used in trade and industry, tourism, foreign wars, Hollywood media, globalisation of the United States business community, and commerce.

Although it is not an official language—the United States does not have an official language or its own language—English is currently the language spoken by the majority of people in the country.


English has gained popularity over the past 100 years or so due in part to its adaptability; it is rife with loan words and continues to pick up new ones as it seeps into other cultural contexts.

 Words like burrito (from Mexican Spanish), bayou (from the Choctaw Native Americans), and boutique (from French) were progressively adopted by English speakers to convey ideas they never had or needed words for until they interacted with (or disagreed with) people from other cultures. Because English words are pliable, it may quickly reflect changing language trends, whether they are localised or global.

English also contributes its own vocabulary to other languages that are willing to adopt specific and unusual English linguistic elements that they lack the means to communicate. French fries are referred to as furaido potato in Japanese, whereas ice cream is termed aisukurīmu. Birth control tablets are known as antibabypillen in Germany!


The United States of America invented the internet at the same time that it emerged as the global leader in commerce. As a result, a complete vocabulary related to computers and technology was developed in English. 

The hardware for all of our smart technology employs English terms that have spread over the world because there was no other option available when the technology spread like wildfire to the corners of the planet. Computer keyboards are designed for writing languages using the Latin alphabet.

For similar reasons, English is the primary language in science today. In the past, universities published significant research in English, and as a scientist, you had to publish everything of importance in English these days.

Pop culture

English is widely used to denote a lifestyle or culture associated with American success or entertainment, or occasionally it is used to denote a particular British attribute. In order to sell their items in international markets, advertisers use it all over the world. 

However, the film and music industries additionally use it the most frequently. The majority of high-profile productions as well as everyone’s favourite classic films are made in English.

In the music industry, bands will also produce their work in English if they hope to gain popularity or notoriety. Perhaps it’s because English will be understood by a larger audience, or perhaps it’s because English is regarded more highly as a component of quality pop music.

Looking to learn English fast?

It is difficult to avoid English these days because it is used so extensively on the internet, on the radio, in classrooms, and in the business sector. It is common knowledge that proficiency in English is increasingly necessary in today’s global labour market in order to land a good job. 

For this reason, a growing number of people and students are studying English to become as fluent as possible, taking private classes, and going on language immersion holidays.

Undertaking language training is a productive and quick method of learning a new language. If you want to learn a language faster, SIMON & SIMON’s language training can be the best option.

We offer courses in English, Spanish, French and Arabic, and Business Language Courses in a range of languages to suit your needs.

Contact us today to get started!

Why is English the universal language FAQs

Why is English the official language of so many countries?

The British Empire was so vast and pervasive that its citizens and administration started promoting the language. English was well on its way to becoming the language of the world by the time nations started to recognise how important it was to implement a language policy.

Why isn’t English the official language of the UK?

The United Kingdom’s linguistic history is complicated. The English language was not considered as a unifying force until the 19th century; numerous rulers struggled and the majority of people in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland did not speak it.

Is English replacing other languages?

English will probably never completely replace other languages, but it will always be valuable as a universal language in pop culture, trade, and diplomacy. Its historical domination stems from the centuries-long process of colonisation, industrialisation, and globalisation that have spread it to almost every region of the globe.

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