Wednesday 1 May 2024

Are we really outnumbered?

While trying to find the correct spelling for the word “usable” (able to be used) I read on an American website that “there are more people using American English than British English” – bollocks I thought, as the word INDIA repeated over and over in my mind…

So just how does the use of American English really compare to British English? Here are some rough figures:

People speaking variations of British English

Indian English (125 million)*
United Kingdom English (67 million)
Australian English (26 million)
New Zealand English (5 million)
Irish English (5 million)
Singapore English (2 million)**

Total – 230 million

*India is the most populous country at 1.43 billion people (yes, slightly ahead of China as of 2024) but it’s hard to estimate how many Indians have some degree of English literacy – 125 million is considered conservative.  **Same with Singapore (population 6 million) – estimate 2 million have some degree of English literacy


People speaking variations of American English

US English (335 million – just the US population alone)

If we also include Canadian English (38 million) that increases the lead even further. Damn I always hate admitting Americans are right, but they got me there!

Other large countries I haven’t taken into account here include Malaysia (British English) and the Philippines (American English)


And how is usable spelt? – either usable or useable are both correct! (the spell checkers are wrong!)

And now I’ll make up for my anguish by including a few American memes!