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Which European Countries Speak the Most English?

Which European Countries Speak the Most English?

Old Nov 19th, 2014, 10:23 AM
  #41  
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Even the sleazy street drug dealers and scam artists in Amsterdam speak good English!
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 10:25 AM
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Funny. When I'm in Amsterdam I still find many people with whom I can converse in Dutch.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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It may seem at times for the casual tourist in Amsterdamned that more folks are speaking English than Dutch and not all of these are Yanks but French, Germans, etc using the universal language of tourism and coffeeshops that are patronized mainly by tourists like The Bulldog Palace, etc.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 01:26 PM
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<I>Astonishing though it might seem, most Dutch people speak Dutch. Morning, evening and night</I>

Most as in a majority? Sure. But a lot of Dutch folks work in international workplaces where English is the dominant language. More than you give credit for.

<I>A tiny handful might - for a few minutes a day - have to speak some funny foreign language to those foreigners too lazy to learn Dutch.</I>

Nonsense. English is the language of business. In a globalized economy - which the Dutch embrace enthusiastically - it is impractical to expect everyone to learn every language. One year, my wife spent time for work in something like 30 countries (including a lot of time in Holland). It would be impossible to learn all of those languages.

The Dutch are smart enough to know that Dutch ain't going to become a global language anytime soon and, I suspect, are less put out by speaking English than some Brits would have us believe when they are trying to use it to insult Americans.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 01:36 PM
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You have a wife?
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 01:47 PM
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advanced uni classes in Holland are often in English not Dutch even if the students are mainly Dutch.

Dutch is a dying language it seems in Holland. slowly but sure.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 02:03 PM
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Sorry, but Dutch is definetely NOT a dying language.
You should not mix up the ability to speak a 2nd language with giving up the 1st language.
Speaking a 2nd and 3rd language besides your mother tongue is not such a big thing in many countries. And definetely no reason to fear the decline of your 1st and everyday language.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 02:06 PM
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<i>You have a wife?</i>

Yep. Sorry to disappoint all the ladies out there.

<i>Dutch is a dying language it seems in Holland. slowly but sure.</i>

Oh, I don't know. I actually think that language skills will become less and less important over time, as translation technology gets better and better. We really aren't that far off from being able to speak into your phone in English and having it translate in real-time into Dutch. Similarly, machine translation may be able to bring down the cost of translating textbooks.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 06:03 PM
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My unscientific ranking from my travels:

England
Ireland
Scotland (and even when some speak English, you're in trouble)
Malta
Denmark
France
Italy
Austria
Iceland
Germany
Norway
Turkey (yes, only partially in Europe)
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 07:08 PM
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When we lived in Germany, we met a lot of people who spoke better English than I do German--not hard to do, in fact--but insisted that their English was rotten. As someone else pointed out above, just because you studied something in HS doesn't mean you can roll it out at the drop of a hat, or feel comfortable doing so. Trigonometry, anyone?

We actually encountered very few people in Germany who could or would speak any English at all.

On my one visit to Amsterdam, I was repeatedly amazed at the Dutch ability to toggle between English and German and French and Spanish and Italian and, oh yeah, Dutch. Impressive linguists, they are.

And, although this is slightly off topic, I will say that I was surprised to meet a handful of people in Montreal who spoke almost no English. Luckily, I can garble out some French when needs must.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 08:40 PM
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Many Swiss also do a good job being able to toggle between German, French, and English. I was walking with a friend in Basel conversing in English, and he stopped to help tourists in German and in French a few times without skipping a beat.

s
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 10:17 PM
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German was my first required second language in middle school.Then as a freshman in high school Spanish was required.I regret that I have not retained enough German to hold a conversation. I am ok with Spanish,but of course living in the southern US I use Spanish more. Use it or lose it.
I wander if refresher classes would bring back what I learned of the German language after 20+ years???
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 10:44 PM
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<i>I wander if refresher classes would bring back what I learned of the German language after 20+ years???</i>

Two data points:

1. Mrs. sparkchaser took German in High School and 20 years later she needed much more than a "refresher".

2. A colleague took German in college and 6 years later, a refresher brought him to end of first semester competency.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 11:13 PM
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Thanks Sparkchaser. I am willing to learn,no matter how long it takes.I really want to go to Germany.I just feel Germany pulling me.I want to speak the language while I am there.My goal is to go in 5 years,for the big 50.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 11:24 PM
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The Michel Thomas CD set did a lot to get me comfortable and in the right mindset before I started my German lessons.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/144...2BAJJ7ODMJJUYP
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 03:20 AM
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When I lived in the Netherlands, I worked at an international research organization based in the Hague. Most of the employees, except at the higher levels, were Dutch. English was the language of the workplace, but in the lunchroom all of the Dutch employees spoke Dutch. There were some few people from the same small town, and they spoke a local dialect at lunch, that wasn't well understood by anyone else.

In rural areas, and among older people, most people were more comfortable speaking Dutch than English.

I made an effort to learn Dutch. Having studied German made it easier for me to learn to read the language, and I eventually was able to understand a good deal of what was said. However, I never got very good at speaking it; whenever I tried, I usually got a response in English. I sent my two daughters to a Dutch elementary school rather than one of the international schools, and both were fluent within two months.

Most people become really fluent in a second (or third) language only if they perceive a necessity. In most African countries, fluency in either French or English is a necessity to get any sort of non-menial job, and people in those countries have no trouble becoming fluent in the foreign language that's most widely used in their country. People in European countries who speak minority languages perceive a necessity to become fluent in English. I know a Danish family, who, one day each week, spoke nothing but English at home, in order to help their daughters achieve fluency. Native English speakers have no such necessity to learn a foreign language, which is why there are so few English speakers who are fluent in any other language. Native speakers of Spanish are also able to get along in a good part of the world without learning a second language. The same is true, but to a lesser extent of native French speakers. Younger Italians have all studied English for years, but mostly with Italian teachers who barely speak the language themselves.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 03:30 AM
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Countries with their own language but a population under 10 million do get an advantage in terms of foreign films and programs not being dubbed. Dubbing remains very expensive so it is reserved in such countries for animated features that small children can see.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 06:30 AM
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Flanneruk, no need to be offensive in voicing your own opinion.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 07:24 AM
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What I find ironic is that I live in NYC, where approximately 475 languages are spoken. In fact linguists and anthropologists come to NYC to studying dying languages because of the various immigrants that concentrated here.

Supposedly English is the primary language.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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A few thoughts:
1 - criteria for evaluation of self diagnosed competences can change a lot between countries (as pointed by other users).
2 - unless you are bilingual from childhood, you'll never be able to speak another language without "quirks and gaps"
3 - before WWII, the languages learnt in Europe as foreigner languages were French and German. This means that age matters.
4 - A German speaking Swiss and a French speaking Swiss are very unlike to speak English between themselves.
5 - Foreigner languages are learnt in a "need to know" basis.
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