English is a useful language. The people who speak English today make up the largest speech community in the world. A speech community is similar to other kinds of communities. The people who make up the community share a common language. Often they live side by side as they do in a neighbourhood, a village, or a city. More often they form a whole country. Many nations are composed of a single major speech community, for example, Italy, Sweden and Japan. National boundaries, however, are not always the same as the boundaries of a speech community. Some nations (for example, Russia and India) are made up of many speech communities. Some speech communities (for example Arabic, Spanish and English) extend across national boundaries. (A speech community, then, is any group of people who speak the same language, no matter where they happen to live.)
We may say that anyone who speaks English belongs to the English speech community. For convenience, we may classify the speakers into two groups: one in which the speakers use English as their native language, the other in which the speakers learn English as a second language for the purposes of education, commerce and so on. In the former group we, obviously, would include England, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. In the latter group we include, among many others, India, Denmark, Kenya, Myanmar, Turkey, Ethiopia and the Philippines. Not all these countries use English for the same group we include, among many others, India, Denmark,
Kenya, Myanmar, Turkey, Ethiopia and the Philippines. Not all these countries use English for the same purpose or to the same extent, but each uses English for important social and commercial activities.