English-Speaking Countries Wanted
October 21, 2004 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Let's suppose I wanted to go on holiday to various countries. Is there a reliable resource on the Web (short of reading a few hundred pages) telling me which are the countries where English is fairly widely spoken and understood? (It doesn't need to be the national language, but enough that I could comfortably move around without hitting a serious language barrier.)
posted by madman to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Here's the CIA Factbook languarge chart
posted by falconred at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2004

People everywhere -- particularly people who are likely to have any contact whatsoever with tourists -- generally speak at least a little English. As guidebook author Rick Steves notes, "The notorious language barrier is about two feet tall."

He's right: Use international words and simple English, slow down, act dumb, use your hands, bring a little notebook, and smile a lot. It's that easy. People are generally helpful.

Broken English is the lingua franca of our modern world.
posted by Vidiot at 2:08 PM on October 21, 2004

You need Dieter Graf's Point It, one of the essential global traveller bits of kit. Brilliantly simple, cheap & fits in a pocket.

As Rick Steves' medium on planet earth, Vidiot, points out, the language barrier isn't actually that high. ;-)
posted by i_cola at 3:41 PM on October 21, 2004

You can definitely move around comfortably in a lot of places with only English! They make travel phrasebooks; my favorite is the Lonely Planet series, with sections on Dating, Romance, Sex, Talking to Parents, Astrology, and the Paranormal. And it fits in your pocket.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:38 PM on October 21, 2004

hey, I just like the guy's travel philosophy, and he's got a very useful website. (Better than his guidebooks, I'd say...)
posted by Vidiot at 10:48 PM on October 21, 2004

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