How to learn a language online

How to learn a language online

wayne parry

Learn English online - for free!






English is spoken in so many countries it’s quite baffling to put a list together. Equally baffling is the chore of finding some of these countries on a map and I suspect the average student of English has no idea, nor cares, where half of them are. However, there should be reason to care. These countries have all played a part in putting the English language where it is today so it’s important we respect  their inclusion in this list. The countries where English is officially spoken are:  


Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zambia.  


As well as the above list of countries, English is also spoken in the British territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena and Turks & Caicos Islands. There are also the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The Australian territories of Christmas Island, Cocos Islands and Norfolk Island are all English speaking as well as the New Zealand territories of the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. An island in Colombia by the name of San Andrés has English speaking inhabitants and the disputed region of Somaliland has English as one of its official languages. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have recently adopted English as one of their official languages, despite the fact that very few people speak the language. And finally, despite now being a special administrative region of China, the English language remains official in Hong Kong alongside Cantonese.    




If we include a list of all the countries where English is spoken, we will find that many of the countries are not officially English speaking. Here's a list of the 50 most populous English speaking countries / territories and from the list we can see how the language has become so widespread.


1.       The United States of America (267 million)

2.       India (125 million)

3.       Philippines (90 million)

4.       Nigeria (80 million)

5.       The United Kingdom (60 million)

6.       Germany (46 million)

7.       Canada (25 million)

8.       France (23 million)

9.       Australia (19 million)

10.   Pakistan (18 million)

11.   Italy (17 million)

12.   South Africa (14 million)

13.   Netherlands (14 million)

14.   Spain (12.5 million)

15.   Turkey (12 million)

16.   Poland (11 million)

17.   China (10 million)

18.   Sweden (8.2 million)

19.   Cameroon (8 million)

20.   Malaysia (7.5 million)

21.   Russia (7 million)

22.   Thailand (6.5 million)

23.   Belgium (6.3 million)

24.   Israel (6.2 million)

25.   Romania (6.2 million)

26.   Zimbabwe (6 million)

27.   Greece (5.4 million)

28.   Sierra Leone (5 million)

29.   Mexico (5 million)

30.   Austria (4.9 million)

31.   Denmark (4.8 million)

32.   Switzerland (4.7 million)

33.   Ireland (4.5 million)

34.   Norway (4.4 million)

35.   Singapore (4 million)

36.   Tanzania (4 million)

37.   New Zealand (4 million)

38.   Bangladesh (4.7 million)

39.   Finland (3.4 million)

40.   Portugal (3.4 million)

41.   Lebanon (3.3 million)

42.   Papua New Guinea (3.2 million)

43.   Liberia (3 million)

44.   Kenya (2.7 million)

45.   Jamaica (2.7 million)

46.   Uganda (2.5 million)

47.   Hong Kong (2.5 million)

48.   Czech Republic (2.5 million)

49.   Hungary (2.3 million)

50.   Croatia (2.2 million) 






EXAMPLE:             LONDON


London is one of the largest English speaking cities in the world and generally referred to as the birthplace of the English language. However, out of the top 20 cities where English is spoken, London is the only British city in that list. Most of the other cities are in the United States. This step is useful for becoming "transformed" into a typical London street scene and to imagine what it's like to be surrounded by the English language.






The best place to find a variety of signs to read is at a market or by simply strolling down a street like this one in London. When there’s no commentary and when it’s in a setting like this, we’re able to focus more on the written aspect of the language as well as take in some of the street life. Markets are ideal for this step.


The purpose of Step Three is to train ourselves to absorb written details that will assist us later on. We need to keep observing these signs to be able to store them in our memory and when we associate signs next to objects, this helps us to associate words with images. 







The United States has an enormous influence over the other English speaking countries as well as the rest of the world when it comes to film and television. Due to the high volume of American content on TV stations around the world, it has often been difficult to compete with such quality – especially in Africa where local TV studios struggle to match the cheaper imports. Nevertheless, most of the English speaking countries that are large enough to sustain a network of television programming have a fairly sizeable amount of local coverage. Here’s an example from some of those countries.



100 Questions                     (American sitcom similar to Friends)

30 Rock                                 (sitcom about the behind doors scenes of a variety show)

90210                                    (teen drama set in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles)

The Amazing Race             (franchise reality show where contestants must travel spontaneously)

American Dad                     (animation sitcom centred around the life of a conservative father)

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?         (quiz show where celebrities compete against children)

The Big Bang Theory         (sitcom involving four university geeks)

The Biggest Loser             (reality show where contestants must lose weight to win)

The Bold and the Beautiful          (daytime drama that started in 1987)

Boston Legal                      (sitcom set in a law firm)

Californication                    (series about a troubled novelist who moves to California)

COPS                                   (reality show that follows the police on duty)

Cougar Town                      (sitcom about a divorced woman over the age of 40)

CSI                                        (crime series set in both Miami and New York)

Days of Our Lives              (one of the longest running daytime drama series in the world)

Desperate Housewives   (series that revolves around the lives of a group of suburban women)

Dexter                                  (crime series that follows the life of a forensic expert who is also a killer)

Dr Phil                                  (topical talk show which is usually quite humourous)

Ellen De Generes Show  (talk show by a well-known comedienne)

Family Guy                          (satirical animation sitcom about a suburban American family)

Flight of the Conchords   (sitcom that follows two New Zealanders trying to make it in New York)

Friends                               (one of the most famous American sitcoms of all time)

Glee                                    (musical comedy drama series)

Grey’s Anatomy                (series set in a hospital)

How I Met Your Mother                (sitcom that follows the lives of five friends in New York)

House                                (medical series set in New Jersey)

Jerry Springer Show        (talk show that deals with controversial issues and often becomes violent)

Judge Judy                        (talk show that resembles a courtroom)

Law and Order                 (police and legal drama series set in New York)

Lie to Me                            (investigative drama series)

Mad Men                            (drama series set in an advertising agency in the 1960’s)

Modern Family                  (sitcom that revolves around an extended family in Los Angeles)

NCIS                                   (drama series about special agents)

Nurse Jackie                    (drama series about a nurse in a New York hospital)

Oprah Winfrey Show       (most successful talk show of all time in the USA)

Scrubs                               (sitcom set in a hospital)

Sex and the City               (drama series that follows the lives of four female friends in New York)

The Simpsons                 (the pioneer of satirical animated sitcoms about American suburbia)

South Park                        (a much darker version of The Simpsons with simpler animation)

The Sopranos                  (a Mafia drama series set in New Jersey)

That 70’s Show                (sitcom set in a suburban home in the 1970’s)

Two and a Half Men        (sitcom set in Malibu that now stars Ashton Kutcher)

United States of Tara     (drama series about a woman with split personalities)

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?                 (successfully franchised quiz show)

Will and Grace                   (sitcom that revolves around two friends who share an apartment)

The Young and the Restless        (another member of the daytime soap operas)                



Degrassi                                               (probably Canada’s most famous teen drama export)

Little Mosque on the Prairie              (sitcom set in a small town in Saskatchewan)

Moose TV                                              (drama series about two brothers who set up a TV show)

Trailer Park Boys                                 (satirical comedy about working class Canadians)

Blood Ties                                            (crime series in Toronto involving a vampire)

Heartland                                              (drama series about a family in Alberta)

Up All Night                                           (sitcom about parenting)

Corner Gas                                           (another sitcom set in a small town in Saskatchewan)

Da Vinci’s Inquest                               (crime series from Vancouver)



Doctor Who                                        (sci fi series that has been running for many decades)

Coronation Street                             (Britain’s longest running drama series from Manchester)

Eastenders                                        (drama series set in London’s East End)

Hollyoaks                                           (drama series aimed mainly at a younger audience)

Emmerdale                                       (drama series set in rural England)

Antiques Roadshow                       (franchised show where antiques are valued)

Big Brother UK                                  (successful global reality franchise which started in the Netherlands)

The Weakest Link                            (franchised quiz show that often includes celebrities)

Grumpy Old Men                             (interviews of well-known TV celebrities)

Shameless                                       (comical drama series set in a council estate)

Supernanny                                      (reality show where a nanny is sent to discipline children)

Ladette to Lady                                 (reality show that follows the development of party girls)

The Jeremy Kyle Show                  (talk show similar to America’s Jerry Springer Show)

Benidorm                                         (drama series set in the south of Spain)

The Graham Norton Show           (comical talk show with Irish host Graham Norton)

Secret Diary of a Call Girl              (series that follows the life of a London escort)

The Tudors                                       (series set in Tudor England but actually filmed in Ireland)

Wanted Down Under                     (documentary series that follows British migrants to Australia)

Merlin                                                 (drama series about the famous English magician)

The World’s Strictest Parents      (franchise reality show where teenagers are sent to live abroad)

Misfits                                                (sci fi teen drama where teenagers have special powers)

Psychoville                                       (dark comedy that follows five characters around England)

The Only Way is Essex                  (comedy series that revolves around young people in Essex)

Torchwood                                       (sci fi series based in Cardiff about alien hunters)

The Beautiful People                     (comedy series about a teenager’s aspirations in Reading)

The Inbetweeners                          (comedy series about a group of teenaged boys)



Love My Way                                     (intense drama series about an extended family in Sydney)

Sea Patrol                                         (drama series about the Australian navy)

McLeod’s Daughter                        (drama series about a rural family)

All Saints                                           (drama series set in a hospital in Sydney)

The Gruen Transfer                        (comical talk show with advertising specialists)

Good News Week                           (comical variety show with celebrities)

Thank God You’re Here                 (comedy show where celebrities have to ad-lib scenes)

Kath and Kim                                   (sitcom about a wife and her daughter in suburban Melbourne)

Underbelly                                        (drama based on a true story about Melbourne’s underworld)

Packed to the Rafters                    (drama series that follows the lives of a family in Sydney)

Neighbours                                      (internationally successful drama series set in suburban Melbourne)

Home and Away                              (equally successful drama set on the northern beaches near Sydney)

Summer Heights High                    (comedy series about a high school in suburban Sydney)

Cloudstreet                                        (drama series set in 1940’s Perth)

East West 101                                  (police drama set in Sydney)

City Homicide                                    (police drama set in Melbourne)

Water Rats                                         (drama series about Sydney’s water police)

Rush                                                    (another crime series set in Melbourne)



Outrageous Fortune                       (drama series about a family that’s always in trouble with the law)

Shortland Street                               (drama series set in Auckland)

Bro Town                                           (comical animation series about Maori and Islander teenagers)

Go Girls                                             (drama series about a group of friends who make a yearly promise)

Laughing Samoans                        (comedy about Samoans in New Zealand)

South                                                 (documentary that explores New Zealand’s South Island)



Love Hate                                            (crime series about Dublin’s underworld)

The Late Late Show                         (comical talk show with international celebrities)

Raw                                                     (drama series set in a Dublin restaurant)

The Frontline                                     (topical debate show)

Tallafornia                                           (reality show involving housemates in Tallaght, near Dublin)

Mrs Brown’s Boys                             (sitcom about a matriarch and her family, filmed in Scotland)

Ask Anna                                             (advice show where the audience can write in and ask for help)



Egoli – Place of Gold                       (drama series from Johannesburg with some dialogue in Afrikaans)

Big Brother South Africa                  (reality show)

Generations                                       (drama series that is in English as well as other local languages)

Isidingo                                               (drama series based around a fictional mining family)

Charlie Jade                                       (sci fi drama set in futuristic Cape Town)



The Station                                         (drama series based in Lagos)

Gulder Ultimate Search                  (reality show where contestants must go through training)

Edge of Paradise                              (drama series about a family in Lagos)

Moments with Mo                            (talk show that often includes well known politicians)



Higher Learning                              (drama series involving Kenyan university students)

Makutano Junction                         (Kenyan drama series that is often mixed with Swahili)

Churchill Live                                  (live comedy show from Kenya that is also mixed with Swahili)

The Sporah Show                          (Tanzanian talk show that is filmed in the United Kingdom)

Home Sweet Home                        (drama series from Ghana)

The Jamaicans                               (sitcom about a Jamaican family)

Royal Palm Estate                         (Jamaica’s most popular drama series) 







It's a sad fact that many people who study English assume that all throughout the English speaking world, the food is nothing more than hot dogs and hamburgers. That's so untrue. There is a diverse abundance of good food wherever English is spoken, including Britain. Learning a language is not complete until the food can be sampled and here's a fairly extensive list of the best that each country has to offer. 



Rhode Island clam cakes

Oysters Rockefeller

Californian fish taco and shrimp tostada

Fried green tomatoes with Louisiana remoulade

New England clam chowder

Southern oxtail soup

Black bean and corn chowder

Classic tomato soup

Cajun shrimp and okra gumbo with rice

Louisiana crawfish broil

Cajun seafood stuffed chayotes


New Orleans crawfish étouffée with rice 

Smoked Alaskan salmon with capers

Hawaiian seared ahi and wasabi beurre blanc

Hawaiian ahi poke (raw tuna with roasted kukui nuts and chilli peppers)

Sirloin steak with wedged potatoes, sautéed onion and snow peas

Chicago style deep-dish pizza

Steak Diane with Idaho potatoes and broccoli

Kentucky burgoo with mashed potatoes and cornbread

Southern style Brunswick chicken stew

Country fried steak with beans, mashed potatoes and white gravy

Texan chili con carne with tortilla chips

Meatloaf in cranberry sauce

Waldorf salad

Caesar salad

Texan nachos with guacamole, sour cream and salsa

Macaroni and cheese

Blueberry pie with New England cream

New York cheesecake with strawberry sauce

Pecan pie with maple syrup

Creole bread pudding with vanilla whisky sauce

Apple pie with vanilla and brandy ice cream



Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding

Fish and chips

Bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes)

Pork pie

Steak and kidney pie

Ploughman’s lunch

Cornish pasties

Cucumber sandwiches

Chicken Tikka Masala

Balti (British curry dish)

Beef Wellington

Black pudding

Cottage pie

Jellied eels

Lancashire hotpot

Shepherd’s pie

Welsh rarebit

Cheddar cheese


Cockaleekie soup


Scotch broth


Kedgeree (Anglo Indian food)

Cawl (lamb stew from Wales)

Roast lamb with laver sauce

Glamorgan sausage

Leek soup

Banoffee pie

Bread and butter pudding

Apple crumble

Mince pie


Scones with Devonshire cream



Irish stew

Colcannon (potato and kale dish)

Soda bread

Boxty (potato pancakes)

Corned beef and cabbage

Coddle (sausage, bacon and potato)

Barmbrack (currant cake)



Whitebait fritters

Roast lamb with kumura

Pork and puha

Maori boil-up

Hangi style platter


Afghan biscuits



Peameal bacon

Rappie pie

Ginger beef

Bannock (Inuit fried bread)

Oka cheese

Caribou stew

Pierogi (Canadian version)

Donair (Canadian kebab)

Baked beans in maple syrup

Bakeapple pie

Butter tarts

Nanaimo bar



Boerewors (sausages)

Bunny chow (curry inside a bread loaf)

Biltong (dried salted meat)

Grilled ostrich fillets

Sosaties (meat skewers)

Tomato bredie

Bobotie (raisin meatloaf)

Pumpkin fritters

Milk tart

Malva pudding




Sydney rock oysters

Tasmanian scallop pie

Dim sim with soy sauce

Sweet yabby soup

Creamy pumpkin soup

Bunya nut soup

Adelaide pie floater

Balmain bugs with angel-hair pasta

Paperbark baked barramundi in lemon myrtle

Moreton Bay bugs in mango sauce

Tasmanian pan seared salmon with spinach and pine nuts

Beer battered fish and chips

Cambinata yabbies in coconut and basil sauce

Roast lamb with honey roast pumpkin, roast potatoes and green peas

Carpetbag steak in bush tomato chutney with onion rings

Kangaroo tenderloin with Illawarra plum and baby spinach

Apricot chicken with Asian greens

Lamb shanks braised in red wine and rosemary

Sun dried tomato rissoles

Traditional Australian beef and gravy pie in tomato sauce

Victorian rabbit stew

Gippsland scalloped potatoes

Bok choi in Kurrajong plum and macadamia sauce

Bush tomatoes with lemon aspen and cumquat sauce

Sticky date pudding


Tasmanian lemon pie

Wattleseed and roasted macadamia ice cream

Steak sandwich with beetroot and chips

Party pies and sausage rolls

Curried egg and lettuce sandwich

Cheese damper

Anzac biscuits


Vegemite crumpets



Yam pottage

Beef suya

Maafe (groundnut stew)

Akara (black eyed pea dough)

Jollof rice

Moimoi (bean pudding)



Jamaican jerk chicken

Dominican mountain chicken (frog’s legs)

Belizean conch fritters

Jamaican patties

Sadza (Zimbabwean porridge)

Barbadian cou cou and flying fish

Curried goat from Jamaica

Callaloo soup from Trinidad (made with okra)

Barbadian pepperpot







Of course, you haven't eaten like a local until you can learn how to make a traditional dish. This one (shepherd's pie) is eaten wherever English is spoken.








OK – so this step needs no introduction as music in English is one of the driving forces of pop culture. Therefore I think it’s not necessary to include a list of songs from two of the most influential countries where music is well-known – the United States and the United Kingdom. Here is a list of the other English speaking countries just under the musical radar.


Take Care (Drake ft. Rihanna)     Canadian rapper with Barbados’s most famous singer.

Girl in Stilettos (Annah Mac)          Newcomer from New Zealand’s South Island

Do Me (P-Square)                            Probably one of Nigeria’s most famous bands at the moment

The End of the Road (Zebra & Giraffe)   South African rock group from Johannesburg

Love is a Drug (Eskimo Joe)          Australian rock group from Perth

Hold On (Sean Paul)                        Definitely one of Jamaica’s most acclaimed singers

We Run the Night (Havana Brown)         New DJ / singer from Australia

Forever (Six60)                                  New Zealand rock band

Fallout (Mariana’s Trench)              Pop rock band from Vancouver

Nesian Mystick (Fresh Boyz ft. Scribe)    New Zealand rappers featuring their greatest, Scribe

Stadium Love (Metric)                      Canadian pop band that has been featured in several soundtracks

I Love It (Hilltop Hoods ft Sia)         Rap band from Adelaide with their city’s acclaimed singer, Sia

Is Anybody Out There? (K’naan ft Nelly Furtado)  Somalian born Canadian rapper

Black Keys (The Minutes)                Dublin rock band

Ayoba (Ees ft. Mandoza)                  Two of Africa’s best kwaito singers, from Namibia and South Africa

Sugar Pills (Kids of 88)                    Pop duo from Auckland

Blood in My Eyes (Sum 41)             Canadian rock band from Ajax in Ontario

See You Again (Sneaky Sound System)  Dance act from Sydney

Good Intent (Kimbra)                        New Zealand singer from Hamilton

What Do You See? (Electrico)        One of Singapore’s most popular pop groups

Feed Off Me (Potbelleez)                 Australian-Irish electro house group based in Sydney






EXAMPLE:                    CRICKET


While football (soccer) is as popular in the English speaking worlds as it is elsewhere, there are other sports that are more synonymous with certain countries; such as ice hockey in Canada, American football in the USA, Australian Rules Football in Australia and rugby in New Zealand, Wales and South Africa. The one sport that seems to unite many English speaking countries is cricket and is played actively in England, Australia, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Pakistan and the West Indies (combination of Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and other Caribbean island nations). 









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