In this Issue
Letters to the Editor
Write to Us
Spread the Word
Back Issues

Lifting the silverware
An exploration of
English football jargon

World Cup competition
Enter this football competition
to win an iPod!


Language interference
Different families, not distant
cousins: comparing Thai and

British and American
English around the world

New word of the month
A new word is born:
How are new words formed?

MED Web Watch NEW!
World Wide Words

British and American culture
English around the world

First in a series of articles on the English language and
British and American culture.

English is one of the most widely used languages in the world. Recent estimates suggest that around 375 million people speak English as a first language and a further 375 million speak it as a second language. The largest number of English speakers is in the United States. English has also been adopted as the official language by all major international businesses. Of the total estimated 40 million Internet users, 80% currently use English as their medium of communication. English is the official language, or has special status, in 75 territories around the world.

In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, the majority of the population speak English. In other countries, it is only a minority who speak English, even if it is the 'official language' of that country.

Culture quiz

Find out how much you know about the English-speaking world by answering the questions in this quiz.

1 What is received pronunciation?

2 Which are the official languages spoken in Canada?

3 Which is more widely spoken: American or British English?

4 What do you know about Nelson Mandela, the ex-president of South Africa?

5 Where are Bangalore and Bollywood?

6 What do you know about Pakistan?

7 Did you know that some famous and successful films were filmed in New Zealand? Which ones?

8 Where does the name Australia come from?

Next in the series

Would you like to learn more about the English language? You can read about its origins in the next edition of MED Magazine.

A Spanish language version of the text above is available in the 'Guía Cultural' section of Macmillan Diccionario Pocket, a brand-new bilingual English-Spanish/Spanish-English dictionary.