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Second Languages Around the World

This map shows the second most common first language in (nearly) every country in the world. These are people who speak it as a first language, we decided this was a more revealing metric as it illuminates the ancient furrows of conquest, colonisation and recent immigration trends (see Polish in the United Kingdom or Spanish in the United States).

English takes the crown as the most common second language around the world with 55 countries speaking it as a second language. France and Russia are second and third with 14 and 13 respectively.

The languages are grouped and colour-coded by language family (languages with a common ancestor).

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The relentless yoke of British imperialism

The reason this figure of 55 countries speaking English as a second language is so staggering is that those people speaking English are doing so as their FIRST language. That is a quarter of the countries in the world.

This figure doesn't even include people who speak English as their second language.

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