Cultural background

English is probably the most international language since Latin: people from all over the world use it to communicate with each other. Apart from being a widespread foreign language, English is also a native language in countries all over the world: from the United Kingdom, over Canada and the United States of America, all the way to Australia and New Zealand. But where does the language come from?

1. The United Kingdom

Off the northwest coast of Europe, there are two large islands. The biggest one is called Great Britain. The other one is called Ireland.
There are two countries on these islands:
– the Republic of Ireland (the most of Ireland)
– the whole of Great Britain and the northern part of Ireland, is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. People mostly just call it ’the UK’.

The United Kingdom itself is divided into four nations:
– England
– Wales
– Scotland
– Northern Ireland

As the name suggests, English was first spoken in England. England is one of the four parts of the United Kingdom; one of the three nations of Great Britain; part of the British Isles.

Getting confused by all these geographic names? Watch this video to learn everything there is to know about the British Isles and all the different islands, countries and nations on it.

All the different parts of the United Kingdom each have their own history, customs and flags. Find out more about those flags in the video below.

2. The United States of America

Of course, the British Isles are not the only country where the inhabitants speak English. Another famous country are the United States of America. Once a collection of Spanish, French and British colonies, this country became the leading superpower in the second half of the 20th century. Its cultural influence can be felt all over the world. Watch the video to find out more about its history.