Do French Speak English? English Speaking Countries In Europe - Star Language Blog (2023)

When you want to visit your favorite country, it is important to communicate affection to have a good trip. France is the leading country that welcomes the most significant number of tourists every year but here is a question: do you need to learn French to visit France? Only some people speak English in France, and 38% know English. Most people in large cities know how to speak English compared to the rural areas of France.

English As An International Language

Suppose you are a business owner and want to expand your business outside Great Britain or the European market. In that case, you might wonder how exactly you will get your message across to your clients who live in France, Germany, or the Czech Republic.

The people living on the old continent have high English proficiency compared to Asian and Latin American countries. There are many European states that are recognized as English-speaking countries. So you can easily communicate with and carry out your marketing campaigns in English in most European countries. It will help you in brand awareness, and also increase your sales.

Another factor with the absolute complexity of language is that people who are not native speakers may not understand English, mainly idiomatic phrases or expressions. English has been a buzz since the UK left. The authorities intend to speak English to live with the English people. Most European countries have a great percentage of people speaking English with proficiency. The countries that do not have a good percentage of English speakers have learned it has become a language of international businesses and the language of the internet population. So the removal of English from Europe is not possible. However, with the departure of native speakers, European English is taking on different colors and is known as Euro-English. It is unclear whether it will become official or not.

Do French People Speak English?

The world’s most spoken language is English. We all depend on this when we move for work or travel to new countries.

According to a report:

  • Less than 20% of French people speak another language such as English.
  • The lowest number of respondents who mention English as a study language are present in Croatia (19%) and France (20%).

However, according to reports, 20% of students take English classes, and about 20% of people of all ages feel easy to speak another language. It’s not clear how many can speak French. Confidence plays the main role in speaking. French people have a nasty habit of criticizing each other’s language skills. So resultantly, many of them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or nervous while speaking English.

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French is the mother tongue of France. They learned English, so 99% of the French population is not fluent in English. The main reason is that the schools of France are not adapted for learning the English language. The second reason is that more than half of the French students’ second language was German. So you should not be able to use expressions and full-speed English with a random French person.

How Many Languages Are Spoken In France?


French is the official language of France. For more than 88% of the French population, french is their first language. French is spoken in Monaco, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, and many African, Caribbean, and Oceanic nations, as the fifth most spoken language globally.


It is the second most widely spoken language in France due to several Irish, British, Australian, and American migrants. Speaking English is a key skill in France, making France a tourist place.


Many people in France speak Spanish due to its shared border and immigration history from Spain to France. Recently, their Spanish immigration increased due to high unemployment in Spain.


Similar to Spain, Germany shares a border with France and is the 4th most common language in France. It is due to the Northern area of the Alsace-Lorraine border of Germany, which has a huge german-speaking population.

Why Do Natives Of France Refuse To Speak English?

It’s a common perception that French people hesitate to speak English. English is the main foreign language taught in schools for many years. Therefore it is doubtful that most French people do not have a basic grasp of English.

The French may refuse to speak English due to their culture and pride in their language and believing that tourists should make some effort in learning some basic french. It believes that refusal to speak English in France is a way to rule the French language and adds value to France in learning it as a foreign language.

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Top English Speaking Countries In Europe

More than three-quarters of the Europeans can speak English. Some countries have much higher English proficiency rates than other countries. If you want to settle in Europe and it’s your first or second language, you may settle in a country where it is widely spoken. Learning the English language for your new destination should be your top priority. More than 1.35 billion people now speak English in the world.

Here we discuss the list of top English-speaking countries in Europe where conducting business in English will not cause you any trouble.


English is the official language of this state. This country remains a member of the European Union. The geographical location of this country shows that it is one of the 51 European countries. Ireland has an English proficiency of 100%, so it undeniably falls into the top English-speaking countries in Europe.


One of the positive stereotypes about Germany is that they are extremely efficient in everything they do. It should not surprise you that they can easily command one of the most commonly used languages in the world.

It has 62.35% English speakers over there. Due to their industrial efficiency, the Germans have always been a stronghold of the English language. Today the modern language of the business world is English. As German businesses dominate in European countries, the pressure on professionals to speak the English language to a proficient level is higher than ever.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has a proficiency of 71.45%, so it is the country with the highest ability in English in the continent of Europe. Whether there are similarities between English and dutch or some other factors, the native of this region can speak English at near-native levels. Dutch stand as number one in their ability to speak the English language.


Sweden has 70.40% English proficiency, so you should not face any trouble using the English language in Sweden. So Sweden is the second most popular country in speaking the English language.

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Norway, Denmark, Finland

This region is simply the best when it comes to proficiency in English in Europe. Proficiency rates in these countries lie between 65% and 69%, but none of them breaks Sweden’s records of 70%. However, still, these are very admirable scores.

Finland has a population of 5.5 million people, with almost 70% of adults speaking high-level English. In Norway, we truly see the English language as the second language.


Meanwhile, Brussels is the capital of the European Union and a multilingual country. It will not surprise you that the people of Belgium are more than adoptive to learn foreign languages. The official language proficiency rate in Belgium is 61.58%.


A huge number of natives, 62.07% of Poles, can speak English at a satisfactory rate, putting them up in the central European countries that can speak English well. With more and more Poles moving abroad, the proportion of Polish people learning English has increased. Poland is always on the list of top English-speaking countries as a second language. It seems that this number has increased in the last year.


Austria has a 62.18% English proficiency rate. It has quite impressive records regarding the percentage of the population that can speak English as their second language. Their native language is German, and English belongs to the German family of languages. This country has its sixth number in top English-speaking countries as Austria shares its border with a whopping eight countries. It’s no wonder that the people of this country have an aptitude for languages.

Facts Of “Euro-English”

English is spoken as a second language in Europe. Now native speakers are found nowhere. The English language is gaining a European touch as people naturally accept the flow. Resultantly, English spoken in Europe now may be considered incorrect by the UK standards. Yet it is understood and spoken among the majority of European countries.

Words like “I am coming from” and “I come from” may not understand by the British or even the Americans. But these are widely understood phrases in European countries. The UK’s departure from the European Union has highlighted the English. It can either be the end of English or the start of the Euro-English era in Europe. We can only wait and see whether it gets official recognition. So we will get a new version of the English dictionary, or it is just dust that will settle automatically.

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Are European Countries Moving Away From The English Language?

If we look twenty years back, English was not as common or widely spread across Europe as it is now. The general rule of thumb used is the further you go towards the east, the lower your knowledge of English becomes. This rule is also changing rapidly. So this will increase the need for a common language to encourage communication.

Now some have feared that due to Brexit, English proficiency levels across Europe will start decreasing. After all, the UK was a major power in European countries and had widespread influence. While Great Britain went then, why did European leaders continue to use English as the leading language?

Some European Union officials have attempted to limit the use of the English language during the union’s proceedings. Many of them seemed to support the notion of switching to french. English has permeated our lives at every level that we cannot get rid of it.

It is the second language in most of the English-speaking countries in Europe. The fact is that it is the most important language in the world when it comes to international business opportunities. Almost an estimated 370 million people in Europe can use English. This number is impressive when you realize that there are 450 million European Union residents altogether.

We already told you that there are plenty of English-speaking countries in Europe. The English language is not going anywhere, so it will likely be used as a second language with the European Union in the future. However, every single European can communicate in English with proficiency.

Bottom line

France is a great place to visit, and if you travel to the countryside, you will find a little bit of the local language. As you can see, European countries are much more adaptive at using the English language. However, they pride their language, particularly Italy, France, and Spain.

If you are a British business owner, you want to consider marketing material and your products into your target European languages. It helps to avoid misunderstandings arising due to the complexities of language. It will also increase your brand awareness and your sales.

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Who speaks best English in Europe? ›

While we have already discussed that Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland are some of the top English speaking countries, we shouldn't forget that Germany and Belgium are very high up the list, with over 62% of the population in Germany being English speakers and 61% in Belgium!

Which country in Europe speaks only English? ›

The English language is the de facto official language of England, the sole official language of Gibraltar and of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, and one of the official languages of the Republic of Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey and the European Union.

Does any part of France speak English? ›

The French education system isn't the best when it comes to learning English. In fact, only 39% of the population in France say that they can speak English.

Which country speaks the clearest English? ›

The Netherlands has been ranked the world's best non-native speakers of English in a yearly international ranking.
Revealed: The World's Best Non-Native English Speaking Countries, 2019.
ProficiencyVery high
99 more columns
5 Nov 2019

Which country has the strongest English accent? ›

Travelling to foreign countries is exciting but when you are struggling to understand the accent it can make some basic things difficult to do.
Table Of Contents show
  • Scottish accent.
  • Irish accent.
  • Australian accent.
  • Southern American accent.
  • South African accent.
3 Jun 2019

Which European language is closest to English? ›

However, the closest major language to English, is Dutch. With 23 million native speakers, and an additional 5 million who speak it as a second language, Dutch is the 3rd most-widely spoken Germanic language in the world after English and German.

What European city speaks the most English? ›

Oslo. The Scandinavians are simply unbeatable when it comes to the number of people who speak English. Not only do millions of Norwegians speak it, but they also sound almost native.

How much of English is actually French? ›

But did you know that English is so close to the French language, that around 30% of English words come from the language of love? Some of these French phrases in English (otherwise known as cognates!) are borrowed directly from the French language, while others have evolved from French origins.

Where in France speaks the most English? ›

Some of the best cities to live in France as an English speaker include:
  1. Paris. The city tops the list as the most friendly to English speakers as it's the capital city of France, meaning many non-french speaking foreigners make their first stop here, and a good number opt to settle here. ...
  2. Dordogne. ...
  3. Toulouse. ...
  4. Lyon. ...
  5. Brittany.
31 Oct 2022

Can I live in Paris without speaking French? ›

Many people who move to France do so without being able to speak any French. Although it might be acceptable for certain professions, most expats will find that their having more fun as they pick up the language. Generally, people develop their language skills out of necessity.

Which country speaks the real English? ›

Five of the largest of these are sometimes described as the "core Anglosphere"; they are the United States of America (with at least 231 million native English speakers), the United Kingdom (60 million), Canada (19 million), Australia (at least 17 million), and New Zealand (4.8 million).

Which country has the easiest English accent? ›

Option 1: the American accent

The most popular English accent of them all. Spread around the world by American cinema, music, television and more than 350 million North Americans (including Canadians, eh), this is the easiest accent for most people to understand, whether native speakers or non-native speakers.

Which country has pure English? ›

This is why many of the countries where English is an official language were former British colonies, including Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United States. English is also widely spoken in India and in parts of Africa.

What accent is the most intelligent? ›

The Yorkshire accent is rated as the most intelligent-sounding, beating received pronunciation, the accent of royalty and public school alumni, for the first time. Researchers asked 48 volunteers to look at photos of female models while listening to recordings of women with different accents describing their lives.

What country has the most beautiful accent? ›

And this time around, the Irish accent has come out on top with more than half the votes as the world's sexiest accent.

What accent is closest to English? ›

The closest language to English is arguably Scots. We say arguably as the language is often regarded more as a dialect of English than an actual language. In fact, according to a 2010 study by the Scottish government, 64% of Scottish citizens don't consider it a distinct language.

Is English closer to German or French? ›

English is genealogically West Germanic, closest related to the Low Saxon and Frisian languages; however, its vocabulary is also distinctively influenced by dialects of French (about 29% of modern English words) and Latin (also about 29%), plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse ...

What is the easiest European language? ›

Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

What is European English called? ›

Euro English or European English, less commonly known as EU English, Continental English and EU Speak, is an alleged group of pidgin dialects of the English language as used in Europe, based on common mistranslations and the technical jargon of the European Union (EU) and the native languages of its non-native, English ...

What is the best country to live in Europe? ›

Switzerland. Switzerland tops many lists of best countries to live in thanks to its excellent quality of life, picturesque countryside and excellent education and health care systems that apply to expats and locals alike.

What's the best English speaking country to live in? ›

Best Countries to Live in that Speak English
  • Germany. More than any other country in Europe, Germany has accommodated thousands of foreign students with complete ease since the 90s. ...
  • Spain. ...
  • Singapore. ...
  • America. ...
  • Philippines. ...
  • Netherlands. ...
  • Dominican republic. ...
  • Sweden.
3 Apr 2022

What is the number 1 language in Europe? ›

Russian. Perhaps a surprise for many individuals, Russian tops this list as the most spoken language in Europe with roughly 140 million native speakers on the continent!

Which language is richer English or French? ›

Steven Frank, the author of The Pen Commandments claims that English has 500,000 words with German having about 135,000 and French having fewer than 100,000. A blog post for The Economist agrees that English is rich in vocabulary, but comparisons with other languages can't be made for several reasons.

Is English coming from French? ›

English has its roots in the Germanic languages, from which German and Dutch also developed, as well as having many influences from romance languages such as French. (Romance languages are so called because they are derived from Latin which was the language spoken in ancient Rome.)

What is English called in France? ›

Angleterre is a feminine word in French : L' (la) Angleterre – une Angleterre. The translation of the word 'English' in French is anglais (masc.) and anglaise (fem.).

What are the top 3 countries that speak French? ›

Here's the top 3 French speaking countries in the world, in terms of people speaking French:
  • France. 66.1 million of French speakers.
  • D.R. of Congo. 42.6 million of French speakers.
  • Algeria. 13.8 million of French speakers.

How many people in France speaks English? ›

CountryEligible populationTotal English speakers
49 more rows

Are French friendly to foreigners? ›

France ranks a poor 55th place out of 65 destinations worldwide in terms of friendliness towards foreign residents. Exactly three in ten respondents living there (30%) rate the local population's attitude towards foreign residents negatively: this is almost twice the global average of 16 percent.

Can I survive in France without French? ›

A lot of people will speak at least a few words of English, but don't expect too much - after all, you are visiting their country, and the official language is French. Can you survive with just English? Probably. But you will have a better time speaking at least a few words of French.

Which nationality speaks the best English? ›

Top 10 Countries that Speak English the Best!
  • Singapore.
  • Norway.
  • Denmark.
  • South Africa.
  • Luxemburg.
  • Finland.
  • Slovenia.
  • Germany.

Which European language is most like English? ›

However, the closest major language to English, is Dutch. With 23 million native speakers, and an additional 5 million who speak it as a second language, Dutch is the 3rd most-widely spoken Germanic language in the world after English and German.

Who speaks the most fluent English? ›

United States: 268M. No surprise here: Those arrogant former colonists may not speak the Queen's English correctly, but they do have the world' s largest English-speaking country. Approximately 225 million Americans speak English as a first language, while 43 million speak it as a second language.

Which English country is best for living? ›

Here are the 15 best English speaking countries to move to if you want the tax advantages of living abroad without having to learn a new language.
15 Expat Countries that Speak English (and Make Sense Tax-Wise)
  1. Bahamas. ...
  2. Belize. ...
  3. Bermuda. ...
  4. Dominica. ...
  5. Gibraltar. ...
  6. Ireland. ...
  7. Isle of Man. ...
  8. Jersey.

Which is the toughest European language? ›


Unlike most European languages, which belong to the Indo-European language family, Hungarian is a Uralic language. It is spoken as a native language by 13 million people, most of whom live in Hungary. It's a famously difficult language for English speakers to learn, with complex grammar and pronunciation.

What language has the closest grammar to English? ›

Closest Major Language: Dutch

Because of this, Dutch possesses many words and phrases similar to English and has a similar grammatical structure.

What is the best language for an English person to learn? ›

Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

Where is the best place to raise a family in Europe? ›

Ranking top is Funchal, found on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Scoring well across all three categories, the city offers the continent's second best 'Health and Safety' prospects, third for 'Education' and seventh for 'Leisure and Lifestyle'.


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