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Do People In Greece, Korea, And China Speak English?

English is the most widely spoken language in the World and can be found everywhere. Although there is no official lingua franca on the planet, English is often used for communication between countries. It is due to several historical factors, particularly the colonial patterns of English speakers. But exactly how many people speak English, and where are all these speakers? Let’s explore the World of English and learn more about available demographics.

What is the average of English speakers across the World? 

Of the World’s approximately 7.8 billion people, 1.35 billion speak English. However, the majority do not speak English as their first language. About 360 million people speak English as their first language. The most common first language is Chinese, then Spanish, then English. In addition to being a widely spoken language, English is the most studied foreign language in the World, followed by French.

Why is it important to learn English?

Thousands of English-speaking people make it a trendy choice around the World. In most parts of the World, English is the most obvious choice as a second language. Of course, there are downsides to English’s status as an official language, including that it benefits people born in English-speaking countries. Still, there’s no doubt that it’s a helpful device always present in the business world: entertainment, science, and much more.

Do Greece Speak English? 

Contrary to what many people in the US or UK think, there are many English-speaking citizens in Greece as a second language. Many things prove English is a popular second language in Greece, but the main reason relates to the economic benefits of English to employment.

Greece went through an economic crisis some time ago. So it’s no surprise that the Greeks are now seeing the final aspect of language learning. A financial crisis that seems to come and go is hitting the region. Additionally, many young Greeks in the workforce are turning to education to provide more opportunities across borders. However, they help you to speak and understand English.

According to EPI, Germany has a very high level of English proficiency, although it may surprise some people. Germany ranks highest in Europe and the World in terms of English penetration, with 8 out of 34 European countries and 8 out of 100 countries worldwide. Greece has a high level of English proficiency, ranking 19th out of 34 European countries and 21st out of 100 countries worldwide. According to EPI, all of this puts Greece in a high league. So, as we can see, Greece is a lot bigger than other countries in Europe. However, many countries, such as Germany, still have large English-speaking populations.

English speaking in Greece’s major tourist destinations 

Let’s take a closer look and look at the spread of English in some of the main tourist areas of Greece. Here is the report summary that shows the dominance of English speakers in Greece’s major cities.

Athens

Because Athens is a cosmopolitan city and a huge tourist destination, English is widely spoken. Subway signs are also in English. Not a single tourist reported a problem, and some say that they were able to live there for a long time without knowing Greek. However, a few Greek words are always helpful to the locals.

Santorini

As Santorini is a popular tourist destination, English is their native language in the service industry. Most importantly, they have no issue with our stay in Fira or Oia. Restaurants, shops, bars, and taxi drivers speak English, and menus are English. 

Zakynthos

English is widely spoken on the island. They reported no language problems there. It’s good to learn a little Greek if you live long, especially in winter, when there aren’t many seasonal tourists.

How widely is English spoken in Korea?

South Korea is the best tourist destination in the Far East, attracting over 10 million tourists yearly, more than half a million Americans. English, in general, isn’t the native language in Korea, but you’re in luck in Seoul, the capital city, where there are more English speakers in major tourist areas. It will be more difficult outside the capital to find a local who speaks English confidently even though they are kind people and will help in every way they can.

Actual statistics on the number of English speakers in Korea are hard to come by. Still, overall, the situation in Korea looks very similar to that in Japan, where some schools teach English but are very reluctant to practice it in a colloquial form. They can read and write much better than they speak, and overall fluency in the general public is still very low. However, as in Japan, visitors report that language barriers and lack of English do not hinder their travel. Many people could not speak Korean for a short period and only managed to survive with a bit of guidance, gestures, and help from the hotel staff. Some report that they have lived there for several years without problems, with little or no knowledge of the Korean language.

Why is English rare in Korea compared to Greece and China? 

The penetration rate of English speakers in Korea is still meager due to the same reasons we found in Japan. In other words, English is taught in schools, but in theory, it is scorched, and students have no opportunity to practice the English language. To become proficient in speaking orally.

Like the Japanese government, the Korean government invests in teaching English to young people, but most people are not proficient enough to communicate in English in everyday life. Most of the training is written and vocabulary-based, with a few straightforward written exams, but has little to no regular oral practice. As a result, tourists who want to learn English often hesitate when approaching Koreans, even if they know Korean, because of fear of incorrect pronunciation or grammar. Unless they work in tourism or hospitality, they have minimal opportunity to practice this daily. Therefore, a small number of English-speaking people can speak English regularly because of work. Nothing beats practicality. So downtown Seoul is the most visited place for English-speaking people in Korea.

Should Koreans Learn English? 

The answer is complex. Most schools require students to study English, and many parents send their children to hagwons (English schools). Also, most universities require you to pass an English language proficiency test before admission. Korea’s first English school opened in 1883, and Koreans spent $20 billion a year on English education. But English is neither major nor minor in the country. However, English-speaking travelers will find it difficult for most Koreans to speak English. Why is this?

Do People in China Speak English?

You can find more English-speaking signage in China’s famous metropolitan areas, usually in the North, East, and South (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, etc.). You will have no problem communicating in basic English in places with many foreign tourists. China is the largest country in the World in terms of population. The population is about 1.4 billion. The Chinese government has a vast and glorious history and is a fascinating place to visit. People want to know how much English the locals speak when traveling in China. Approximately 1.4 billion people live in China. Of these, approximately 82 million speak conversational English. It corresponds to about 6% of the total population. They are usually young people who study English at school, are wealthy enough to travel and study abroad, and live in the heart of China’s major cities. Poor and less educated people in rural areas speak little English.

English Speaking Cities of China

Beijing

It is the capital of China, with a population of about 21 million. People come to Beijing to see the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Summer Palace. There are modern restaurants and bars, shopping districts, western-style hotel chains, and many other tourist attractions. Most locals can speak basic English. Young people have learned English in school, and anyone who works for an international company or tourism industry can speak English quite well. As it is a capital city, there are many embassies, so English is not their native language because there are many diasporas.

Shanghai 

Shanghai is China’s financial and business center with a population of approximately 24 million. Shanghai’s major attractions include The Bund, Former French Concession, Jinggang, and Jade Buddha Temple. Moreover, the city center has numerous shopping areas and international restaurants and bars chains. Meanwhile, there are also many Western hotel chains. Shanghai is perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in China outside Hong Kong. It has a long colonial history and is very open to outside influences today. It means that the locals have a lot of experience with English. Young people learn it in school, and there are many English-speaking foreigners in the city.

Hong Kong

The history of Hong Kong is very different from the history of other cities in China. The growing town impacted Britain’s economic interests as part of the British Empire. Although they returned the city to China in 1997, it is still heavily influenced by its long history of colonial ownership. Today, the city is an international melting pot of diverse cultures. Many locals speak English as their first or second language. The city is also a tourist hub, so local restaurants, bars, and hotels almost always have someone who can speak English.

Is English necessary in Greece, China, and Korea?

Tourism

If you’re traveling to major cities in China, you’ll find English-speaking people in major restaurants, bars, and hotels. You can speak in limited English, but basic inquiries, directions, and small talk will be fine. You can hire an interpreter for more complex conversations in large cities. Also, many locals love to practice English, so you should be able to find someone to help you. If you travel to places you don’t visit often, you’ll need to speak more of the local language. The villagers are still impoverished and have neither time nor money to learn English. 

Residential Locality

Since Chinese people have been learning English in school since the 80s, most Chinese society can speak basic English. English learning is quite beneficial for your career, mainly if you deal with international clients and companies. Many Chinese have had many opportunities to practice abroad, especially studying and traveling to places like England, America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Bottom Line

China, Greece, and Korea are attractive travel destinations. People are amiable and the locals too when they try to learn English and communicate in that language. However, English is increasingly used in the country’s major urban areas. Chinese, Greeks and Korean people learn basic English at school, so you should be able to speak with most people in the city. Many of the residents enjoy the opportunity to speak English with foreigners.

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