English is spoken in many smaller countries and communities all over the world. Many of the spoken dialects are called pidgin English. They do not have a formal written version and may vary a lot from Standard English.
The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are, in descending order:
- United States (215 million)
- United Kingdom (61 million)
- Canada (18.2 million)
- Australia (15.5 million)
- Ireland (3.8 million)
- South Africa (3.7 million)
- New Zealand (3.0-3.7 million)
As these pidgin variants over time develop a fixed pattern they may develop their own fixed spelling and grammar. Then they are often called Creole Englishes.
Both Creole and pidgin Englishes have emerged as a result of colonial expansion, slavery and international trade - all of which require a basic common language for communication.
Listen to Bill Bryson interview Loreto Todd, Professor at Leeds University, who has specialized in pidgin English:
For variants within more formal Englishes you may study this site. Listen to at least ten words and compare how they are pronounced in a number of regions worldwide: www.soundcomparisons.com
Listen to some of the words and compare dialects. Do you have a favourite – if so which one? Practice saying a few phrases in your favorite English dialect. You may start with the one suggested below.
Suggestion: My brother bought a new car the other day. It is really fast. It is a lot better than mine!
Other Varieties of English
Countries such as Jamaica and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from an English-based Creole to a more standard version of English. Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language, India has the most such speakers ('Indian English'). Combining native and non-native speakers, India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world (David Crystal). Following India is the People's Republic of China. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language)
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