Monday, August 21, 2017 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Which Countries in Europe Speak the Best English?

Want to see Europe but afraid of the language problem? There’s never been a better time for English-speaking travelers to visit! It is becoming easier for English speaking individuals to travel throughout Europe without having to speak the local languages, because many of the locals of those countries can speak English quite well. English is commonly taught from elementary school on in many Western European countries. For the most part visitors can order food, ask for directions, and venture through Europe while speaking English.

Remember, though, to be a good guest and try to learn at least a few words of the local language. Becoming fluent in foreign language is tough but learning some common phrases is easy and fun. You’ll get a better reception if you don’t demand that everyone speak English.

Here are 9 countries in Europe that have people who speak English the best:
1    Sweden

At least seventy percent of the people in Sweden speak English very well and there is a slight debate as to whether English should even be considered a foreign language in that country. The majority of the locals that speak English were born after World War II, when American influence was high through the arts, culture, and trade. Students learn the English language from third until ninth grade and then they are required to take at least one more year in grades ten through twelve.
2    Netherlands

The people who live in the Netherlands can speak English quite well, with as many as ninety percent of the population being proficient in the English language. Students must learn the English language while they are in school and they are required to pass an English test before they can graduate high school.
3    Denmark

There are many languages that people speak in Denmark, but the official language is Danish. With that being said, a large amount of people also speaks English. Children are required to learn the English language in school before they are given the option to learn a third language.
4    Norway

Almost ninety percent of the population of Norway can speak the English language proficiently and this country actually scores within the top five countries on the EF English Proficiency Index. Every class in most of the colleges in Norway are taught exclusively in English, which is helpful for people who want to learn the language. All the movies that are shown in Norway are in the English language with subtitles in the native language, so the locals hear the English language every time they watch a movie, plus they all listen to music and watch television shows in English as well.
5    Finland

The people that speak the best English in Finland include consultants, lawyers, and people who work in the tourism industry. However, many other professionals are not too far behind with their language proficiency. Children in Finland begin to learn the English language at a very young age and it is one of their required courses throughout their school years.
6    Belgium

The residents of Belgium all speak different languages depending on where they live, but almost all of them speak English. Every student must begin to learn the English language at the age of fourteen, which is why they are all fluent in it by the time they graduate. While people do speak English in this country, it is still recommended that people learn some of the local languages, so that they are prepared if a situation arises.
7    Estonia

People in Estonia speak either Estonian or Russian, but not both. For that reason, many of them will speak English with anyone who speaks the opposite language as they do, simply so that there is no miscommunication. This makes it easy for people traveling to the country, because they do not need to worry about learning not only one, but two new languages.
8    Germany

The Germans have picked up the English language quickly, which is possibly because some of the words in their language are similar to the English versions. The best part about Germans who speak English is that they have more than the words down. They also know many figures of speech and slang words, so no one needs to worry about not being understood when they are talking to a local in Germany.
9    Austria

There are many tourism jobs available in Austria for English speaking individuals, so it is no wonder that many locals are trying to learn that language. Austria’s economy relies on tourists and since most of these tourists speak English, the locals want to be able to communicate with them effectively.

Since English is becoming a popular language in many countries, people will find that it is easier for them to travel and be understood. No one will need to spend hours learning a new language or using a translation app when they need to ask a local for a recommendation to a good restaurant or where the closest restroom is. Hopefully, this will mean that more people will begin to travel the world in the future, especially to Europe, where they can speak the language that they already know.

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