Why Are You Learning English?

There are about 375 million people who speak English as their first language (language learned from parents; first language we learn as a child). By some estimates (guesses based on available information), there are between half a billion and a billion people around the world who speak English as a second language (language learned after your first).

We all know that English is useful or important to you in some way, or else you wouldn’t be listening to ESL Podcast or reading this blog.  But we thought it would be interesting to know your particular reason(s) for improving your English.

The poll below lists some of the most popular reasons.  Check as many as applies to (is true for) you.  If your reason isn’t listed, tell us in the comments.

~ Lucy

P.S.  A few of you have noted Jeff’s absence (being missing) from the blog recently. He has been very busy working on ESL Podcast projects for you, our listeners, and I am filling in (doing some of his work) in the meantime . However, like the Terminator, he’ll be back — soon.


[poll id=”22″]

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30 Responses to Why Are You Learning English?

  1. Giovanni says:

    I’ve choosed “to improve my job or business opportunities” because I think Italy is going to pot, so I’m getting ready to emigrate in another country. I think that to be a kitchen hand in a country without corrupt politicians is better than live in Italy.

  2. UlisesBarrón González says:

    I want to add that one of my interest of adquiring this lenguage is to feel better with myself, I like the idea to kown another lenguage, and be part of the english lenguage users.
    tank you lucy, you are the best.

  3. Marcelo says:

    Hello, Lucy,

    The main reason I learn or better yet “acquire” English is to play games (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) with my American friends and be able to communicate with them, sometimes I have problems to understand what they are saying because they usually speak quite fast, and use lots of slang and jargons, beyond that, I’m also really passionate and fan of American English.
    I’ve been improving my English by listening to your Podcasts, reading books and immersing myself in the English language as if it were my first language, I like the “Comprehensible input” approach. (Fan of Dr. Stephen Krashen and Warren here).

    Marcelo from Brazil.

  4. Dan says:

    Hello guys

    I do not exactly remember why I started out getting the English language.

    I guess beacause my boss bought a british piece of machinery and I was tired of comunicating making hand gestures.

    Besides that I had nothing better to do so…

    I find that English gives you a more international perspective/point of view.

    I mean, most of the country in the world today have an online newspapwer in English.
    Morover, when you meet someone from other country English is helpful.

    Thanks to websites like this one, I get to better know a great country like the U.S.

    I think the goverment of the U.S. should do more to aid websites like ESLPodcast that helps getting people around the world closer to the U.S.

    What else…yes, looking Tv shows like the Simpsons without being dubbed is far more better.


  5. emiliano says:

    I have been learning English since more tan fourty years, first reason was to be off from here, Spain, my country, I didn´t like to live here when I was eighteen
    or less, so I started to learn English first to go to Australia, once Autralia wasn´t the place to go I thought in going to The Brithish Columbia in Canada.
    Knowing that the language it was talk in this part of Canada, I wanted to find a job over there and go out from Spain for a long long time.
    I didn´t like lot of things about this country in my youth, didn´t like to live without freedom, Be feeded by football and bull fights, without good classic music,
    without nearly without books that wasn´t censuered, the same about movies or theathre, every thing was censured and also didn´t like thw way Spaniards
    spent their free time.
    Yes, i felt myself like an Alien, coming from other planet, but once I met Cuca all my projects of going out from here was at one side. I wanted to live with her
    and she likes Madrid, Spain, so Emiliano remains in Madrid.Spain.

    After being three or four years learning English I liked the language and I wanted to learn more and more, also it was useful to my work in Santander Bank as
    I was working in the Foreign Department, and there were very few clerks knowing the language.
    Also my salarty was increased by the fact of speaking and using English in my work, it was a plus added.

    Now I listen and learn more English just for pleasure, also because ESL site is like my family, Jeff, Lucy, Warren are like my family, my friends and I wanted to
    be in touch with them and with all my friends of this Blog.

    Now I am writing for the first time some notes, letters, in my own blog and it is just something that I ever wanted to do, just to have the posiblility of writing in
    the two language, it is a pity I don´t know French, German, Italian or anothe language because I like all of them.

    So, thanks a million Lucy,Jeff, Warren and all ESL team, also thanks to you dear friends of the Blog.

    Sorry for the speech, it seem I was in a weding…..with the cup up in my hand.


  6. Carolina says:

    Hi Lucy!

    Here in Brazil, We need to speak English fot to get a better job (better salary). English = $$$$$$

  7. Tania says:

    Hi! Dear Lucy, thank you for your short note regarding Jeff. We really were worried for him.

    His message is a good news: “Stay here, I’ll be back!”

    Yes, we are waiting for him as “The more contact we have with ESL team the more we learn.”

    Good luck in your new projects, dear Jeff, and have a nice spring. All the best for you.


  8. Tania says:

    Hi! Today it is the first of March, the first sign of a new spring.
    In my country, today, we offer a small “March” to all we love and appreciate.

    A spring smile and a snow-drop to our ESL team and to all our dear blog friends.



  9. parviz says:

    Dear Lucy,
    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to express our ambitions.
    say hello to Dr. Jeff. we miss him a lot.


  10. emiliano says:

    Thanks so much Lucy, I would like only to say I have new Windows 8 and it is awful as the machine wants to write for itself
    making lot of mistakes.
    It is like the pc has its own life and it changed me the letters, something really odd and strange.

    Sorry friends for such a lot of mistakes, it is not my will writing this way.

    Lucy, Jeff, you ae really good friends, Dan told me something new there is in the blog that I didn´t know, funny indeed that
    there was Dan who has to tell me……you know what I mean.
    Thanks a lot Dan for your advise and my gratitude to you Lucy and Jeff, you have done something like magic?

    My best


  11. emiliano says:

    one of my great pleasures that was given by my knowledge of English when a was a your father
    was the posibility of teaching the language to my Little children, eva, fatima and laura when they were
    three or four years old only.
    The first Word that laura learnt was “toys” and we, Cuca and me, could remember it with a nice smile.

    After being with them along three or four years,, more or less English was another part of their life too.

    The three of them have been round the world thanks to the English that was first taught by their father
    and yes,I am quite happy thinking that.
    Now that laura is in Copenhaguen English is really her second language while she learn Danish.

    English and Emiliano have been together for a long long time.

    Again, the pc. do what it likes…….what can I do, I hate wind. 8


  12. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    I started studying English in 1959 when I was 18 and was serving Brazilian Air Force as a soldier. For some time I stopped studying for some reasons. During the Engineering Course I had to restart to study again for the text books were in English. I stopped again for no time to study. After being retired the time I had became longer and I took the advantage to go back to the books. I don’t know if one day I will need to speak English for necessity. I don’t mind! It can be fun and it is everything.
    Aécio from beautiful Brazil.

  13. Peter says:

    Hi my dear professor Lucy ,
    It is like you read my mind. I was wondering where Jeff is?
    I was about to email you guys to see. If the funder of Eslpod our one and only “Jeff ” is in good health.
    However ,thanks for the update on Jeff’s whereabouts.
    Don’t get me wrong sis ,I didn’t mean to pry.
    I gotta tell you ,your post is quite noble. I mean ,it is quite different with what we typically got going here.
    I like it ,for a change
    Very interesting question.
    Well,if you must know:)) ( just joking,don’t shot me down please )
    As u guys know ,I live in NorthAmerica , so ,for me, the story goes down differently ,I mean it takes a totally different turn.
    Living in an English-speaking language country leaves me with no choice but learning the language as best as I can. As you see , I live the language everyday. So , I have to equip myself with an standard English working command , fluency if you will, otherwise how on earth I could survive.
    So ,basically, I m learning English out of necessity,another words,it is a must for me.
    Almost of all the bulleted point options you Listed on the post for us to check mark as the reason why we are following Eslpod so closely applies to me expect for the last option -that is – traveling to an English speaking language country , well , I live in one. It is different !! Do u feel me ?
    But , I wanna point out here what I me roomed above is not my mere reason why Jeff and Lucy can’t get ride of me :)))
    so, allow me to come to it ftpm a different angle.
    As the nature of every cosmopolitan city dictates, hyphened citizens who live in these newly-formed societies can easily survive knowing just a number of surviving terms in the official language ,predominant language if you will because they can easily find the people of their own and form a kind of circle of friends that gradually, as more people come in , turns into a community at large.
    Well,Toronto is no exception to this rule. As u know ,toronto is one the most cosmopolitan city all over the world with multiculturalism as an inherent part of it.
    Naturally , people who first landed here get sunken in by their own culture as the most convenient way of surviving in the new land. The natural tendency over the years forms an strata society , more commonly known as a mosaic culture society , in which most hyphened citizens Live within their own small community. So , basically they don’t need to go out of way to learn the dominant language of the land. That brings me to my second reason why I m so eager to learn the language ,and more importantly why I m so clingy when it comes to Eslpod :)))))
    The reason is simple , I m totally fascinated by The language of Shakespeare.

    The eslpod buff :))


    P.S. the third reason is Eslpod got me at hello ;))

  14. Joel Valdez says:

    I also have a blog. I’ve decided to write it in English because I think that I can reach more people that way. I also live in the USA, so improving my English is kind of mandatory. Although it seems at one point that you can only improve so much.

  15. Rishma Sharma says:

    I’m learning English so that I can be better sublimate with the English speakers native.One reason is more, so that I can persuade higher education from a re-putative University.

  16. Jhonatann Pereira says:

    Hello. I’m learning english because I love this language. It’s so expensive the english’s courses here in Brazil, then I’ve been learning by myself. The ESL Pod is perfect. Only with 2 months I improved so much, and I want more!!!

    Jhonatann, from Beautiful Janaúba, BRAZIL

  17. emiliano says:

    May I ask you Joel Valdez how I find your blog?, it would be nice nice for me to read it.

    That way it is one of the best forms of increasing the language, I am doing it and every
    moment it is as a challenge.

    Which is the name of it? You know well that here we can´t write links and it is a good
    rule by all means.

    Good luck dear Joel.


  18. mohamad jasim says:

    Am learning E , to read books, websites , listening to news, watch movies , and to touch with people about the world , thank you.

  19. Tibi says:

    Hi everyone
    It is said how many languages you know as many lives you have. So I think that this is the first reason for learning E. By learning a new language you can get communication,opportunity ,friends and so for .So you never know where the hare jump from. So you have to be prepared yourself for the life.
    It is my opinion from Romania

  20. emiliano says:

    Hi Peter,

    I like your note, it is interesting what you said about your feelings living in Toronto, and English speaking

    You said: ” I m totally fascinated by The language of Shakespeare”

    One of the best reasons to do which ever thing you do in life, to be fascinated for it.

    My best Peter, thanks bro.


  21. Paul De Smet says:

    Hey everyone, I have always been interest in learning this language. And as we’ve seen the start of the digital revolution of recent years, I decided to learn it properly with a course book (an old school course for intermediate and advanced level), and Pod casts. So long.

  22. xinxin says:

    Hi everyone!

    I’m going to live in Boston this september for my son’s high school,so I want to improve my skills in listening and speaking English.The ESL Podcast is very helpful,I just become a member yesterday after several

    weeks of listening to the podcast. Now I’m full of confidence I can’t wait for my new life in the NEW CONTINENTAL! Wish me luck!

    By the way, Dear Dr. lucy Are you a Chinese- American? I figure out from your last name.

    Thanks again, I’ll follow you up everyday.


    XINXIN from the beeeeeautiful SHANGHAI CHINA

  23. hubert says:

    “in a country without corrupt politicians…”
    Giovanni, there is no such country. Maybe you don’t know, but in many countries living in Italy is a dream. Let me quote (not exact) one of smarties Polish writers: “There are two ways for Poland to be a great country: miracle and usual. If Poles start to work fairly and they elect government, which is free of corruption it will be a miracle. Usual way, more probably is: Angel of God will come and restore justice by his sword”.

  24. Betty says:

    Dear Lucy

    Well, I started learning English from the first day I started school.

    All pupils/students must learn English alongside Chinese. No choice.

    I choose to continue to learn English even though I finished my formal education long time ago.

    Why? The answer is in the first paragraph of this blog.

    There are so many people who speak English in the world. If I can understand English, I increase the chance of understanding what’s going on around me.

    England language proficiency is important because it is also one of the six official languages used by United Nations in its meetings and official documents.

    To further reinforce my believe that learning English is important, I would like to quote from the The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as below:

    “The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has introduced language proficiency requirements for air traffic controllers and pilots with the objective to improve the level of language proficiency globally and reduce the frequency of communication errors. Historically, insufficient English language proficiency on the part of the flight crew or the controller has contributed to a number of accidents and serious incidents”.

    “The ICAO Language Proficiency requirements are applicable to both native and non- native English speakers. According to ICAO the burden for improved communications should not be seen as falling solely on non-native speakers – ICAO Doc 9835 states: “Native speakers of English, too, have a fundamentally important role to play in the international efforts to increase communication safety.”

    “In 2003, ICAO set a deadline of March 2008 for English language proficiency at Level 4 and above for all pilots flying international routes and air traffic controllers serving international airports and routes.
    For States which were not able to meet the March 2008 deadline, full implementation is to be completed by March 2011.”

    That’s all from me today.

    Thanks again for making learning English interesting.

    See you again soon.

    Betty 🙂

  25. Kim-ds says:

    I’m learning English because of you,,,,,,, Lucy and Jeff.
    You guys are awesome.

  26. sutisha says:

    Dear Lucy and all nice bloggers,

    I am learning English because it has been a part of my daily life. High technology allows me to reach countless channels and websites to learn various, useful, interesting things I’ve never got to know or just slightly known. Take ESL Podcast and English Cafe for instance; listening to the podcast and studying the very helpful Learning Guides thoroughly for three months (just finished the 2009 for the previous episodes), I incredibly do improve all my reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Listening to and watching the CNN, BBC, and several other entertainments today give me much more pleasure than before. Thanks to English Cafe, I enjoy searching more details of what our brilliant teachers Lucy and Jeff have pondered them beneficial to us. Learning and getting more understanding not only English, but also how those around the world are doing and thinking. By the way, I occasionally wonder how both of you – Lucy and Jeff – spend time planning your insightful lessons and guides for us – the learners on time every week! And all of them are worth picking up!!!

    Best regards

  27. emiliano says:

    Dear Kim-ds / sutisha

    You have said just the right words:

    I am “also” learning English Because of you……Lucy and Jeff.

    Without you I didn´t


  28. Vito says:

    Just to feel confident and complacent.

  29. Betty says:

    Dear Lucy

    I forgot to say that one of the reasons for me to continue to learn English is because I was not good at English when I was a student.

    It was a painful experience.

    Now we are in Digital Age, I would like to make use of the facilities to give my English a new lease of life.

    Many thanks again for your patient and professional teaching.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  30. Mohamdd says:

    Hi luce

    I’m learning english for many reasons but the most important reason is that because the english is the language of science in this century..however i’m inviting u to learn arabic language bcoz it had been the language of science for more than 13 centuries …

    thanks Luce for ur efforts .. really appreciated …

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