Once upon a time in Poland, Ludwik Zamenhof tried to invent a new, international language. He selected the easiest words and grammar rules from the different ones. He called it Esperanto, but didn’t realise how lazy people are. Especially the British who used to have a nationwide empire in those days. That’s why Esperanto lost to English. Which nations use it best? How can we measure it ?
For example you can visit every country and speak with everybody there. But it could be more difficult than finding ski jumpers in Australia. Fortunately we have something called The English Proficiency Index. It is prepared after analysis of online tests completed by people from seventy countries. In the last edition Sweden finished in first place before The Netherlands and Denmark. On the other hand, if you are going to Libya, Saudi Arabia or Cambodia, better take English dictionary with you.
Sometimes it’s hot in Scandinavia, but usually in a sauna. As a result people there have a lot more time to sit in houses and learn languages. Their standard of living is also very high, so they are not used to problems with money for dictionaries.
At the same time Central European nations are also developing their language skills very quickly. That’s because last century people there had to learn only one language – Russian, while nobody was going to visit the country of The Red Square.
What conclusions is EFI giving to us? Nothing surprising. Firstly, that the richer nation is, the better English is spoken. Secondly, that the size of investment in English training is not directly correlated to progress which people have there in language skills.
From the other side, EFI gives us one, especially good information. People speak English better every year. In nearly each part of the globe.
The results of EFI are available online. Nine countries received a “Very High Proficiency” grade (that’s where you want to find you nation) and twenty two were classified with exactly different rating.
Happily, I was able to write this article and you to understand it. So we are in the international English users team which is still growing.