Approximately 430 million people speak English as their first language. More than half of these (255 million) live in the United States, followed by some 60 million in the United Kingdom (England being the language’s historical homeland). English is the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin and Spanish. Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly, from roughly 1 to 1.5 billion. When combining native and non-native speakers, English may be the most widely spoken language worldwide, competing only with the Chinese languages (depending both on the definition of “Chinese language” and on what counts as second language competence). Besides the major varieties of English, such as British English, American English, Australian English and their sub-varieties, countries such as the Philippines, Jamaica and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from an English-based creole to a more standard version of English, to Jamaicish, a hybrid language.
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