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Swedes have excellent English skills, according to a unique study by educational company EF. But Norwegians and Danes have even better.

The EF English Proficiency Index -- the first of its kind to rank English language proficiency -- pulled its results from more than two million people in 44 different countries who took a free online English test between 2007 and 2009.

Norwegians were ranked as having the world's best English skills as a second language, followed by the Dutch and Danes. Swedes came in at number four, ahead of the Finns, according to the EF EPI.

“People from small Nordic countries are motivated to learn English at a high level because they known that English language proficiency is essential for their professional careers. That may be the only way to survive in the global economy and find economic success outside of their borders", Eva Kockum, President of EF International Language Centers, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Founded in 1965, Stockholm-based EF is the world's largest private educational company.

FULL LIST: COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY
Rank, Country, Score Level

Very High Proficiency
1 Norway 69.09
2 Netherlands 67.93
3 Denmark 66.58
4 Sweden 66.26 
5 Finland 61.25

High Proficiency
6 Austria 58.58
7 Belgium 57.23
8 Germany 56.64
9 Malaysia 55.54

Moderate Proficiency
10 Poland 54.62
11 Switzerland 54.60
12 Hong Kong 54.44
13 South Korea 54.19
14 Japan 54.17
15 Portugal 53.62
16 Argentina 53.49
17 France 53.16
18 Mexico 51.48
19 Czech Republic 51.31
20 Hungary 50.80
21 Slovakia 50.64

Low Proficiency
22 Costa Rica 49.15
23 Italy 49.05
24 Spain 49.01
25 Taiwan 48.93
26 Saudi Arabia 48.05
27 Guatemala 47.80
28 El Salvador 47.65
29 China 47.62
30 India 47.35
31 Brazil 47.27
32 Russia 45.79

Very Low Proficiency
33 Dominican Republic 44.91
34 Indonesia 44.78
35 Peru 44.71
36 Chile 44.63
37 Ecuador 44.54
38 Venezuela 44.43
39 Vietnam 44.32
40 Panama 43.62
41 Colombia 42.77
42 Thailand 39.41
43 Turkey 37.66
44 Kazakhstan 31.74
Source: EF English Proficiency Index

 

 

Comments 

 
#17 Emma 2014-09-01 01:37
The reason the Philippines and Singapore are not included might be because English is an official language of those countries, so they wouldn't count.
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#16 TheBastard 2014-05-17 16:11
Why isn't Iceland on the list?
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#15 2013-11-17 07:25
I was in Sweden last year and was amazed how well they all speak English. Maybe it has to do with all the nondubbed TV shows in English.
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#14 2013-07-26 17:39
Postscript: Upps, I come again to say I believe it's "the Swedes, Danes, Norweigians and the Dutch" - and not what I said before, as you can read above - . Isn't it?

Sorry, I'm not a germanic spaker, I'm a southener and... we'll keep trying to improve this lovely but kind of "primitive" language, but anyway it will be difficult that one day we achieve a proficiency level at it.
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#13 2013-07-26 16:29
Sorry. It's languages, not "languajes".
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#12 2013-07-26 00:38
I don't think it has so much merit the fact that Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch are able to speak English so well.

In my opinion it's because of the huge similarity among all that west germanic languajes, and to a very lesser extent the effort, the good education and all these repeated and flattering nonsenses about Scandinavians.

Their good English is inversely proportional to their bad latin languajes, for instance.

NO MERIT!
Quote
 
 
#11 2013-03-11 02:25
From my experience, I would not disagree with these findings! As one of the very few Brits I have ever met who can speak or read any of the Nordic languages, I am humbled at how well the Scandis speak English!
Jag gratulerar dem!
Quote
 
 
#10 2012-11-06 06:17
We Peruvians have the best all-around English skills in ALL Latin America (Central & South)...if you don't believe, try to communicate with me in any conversational topic, I bet you as a real challenge.
Or better, go to Cusco and Machu Picchu and look for me...
Quote
 
 
#9 2011-09-15 16:58
and how about Singapore? it's not even on the list. Either the writer considers Singapore as an English speaking country or he or she doesn't know that Singapore has obtained independence from Malaysia in 1965.
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#8 2011-08-27 04:39
Where in this list is the Philippines? Most South Koreans (ranked # 13) come to the Philippines to study English.
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