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Which European Countries Speak the Most English?

Which European Countries Speak the Most English?

Old Nov 20th, 2014, 07:43 AM
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Well in the US most of our call centers are in either India or pakistan - and the clerks answering have very distinctive accents (some are actually quite hard to understand) but they are apparently told to pick american names - and come up with some doozies.

But the majority of them can speak well enough to respond to simple problems or send you back to the US staff for more complicated ones.

Have never had one from the Philippines.

Perhaps part of the problem is the definition of "hold a conversation". there is a big difference between a casual encounter and holding an in-depth discussion on global warming or international politics.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 07:48 AM
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Sorry - I don;t see that the survey said the people speaking English had to be perfectly fluent, know all local idioms and not have an accent. That is practically impossible to find. And I work with colleagues in many countries - all of whom have accents and need to reach fro a word now and then - but to me that' still a working knowledge of English - and way more than you would find among americans who typically speak not more than a couple of sentences of anything but english unless they are recent immigrants of children of such who learned another language at home.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:43 AM
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<unless you are bilingual from childhood, you'll never be able to speak another language without "quirks and gaps">
I am bilingual from childhood, but since I don't use my second (well, first, technically) language as much as English, there have always been and will always be quirks and gaps in it. But I can speak and understand it smoothly--not without error, but smoothly. Other languages I have studied--French, for example, which I studied for years--just haven't sunk in in the same way. And for some reason, I am loathe to make mistakes in those other languages and so am shy to speak them--silly, but common, I think.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 09:16 AM
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<I>Well in the US most of our call centers are in either India or pakistan</I>

Not true. The Phillipines has more people working in call centers than any other country.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 09:59 AM
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<unless you are bilingual from childhood, you'll never be able to speak another language without "quirks and gaps">

This is not true in my experience. I know many who whose first language is not English and they have not learnt English from childhood, not only do they speak English fluently, they use and understand idioms, have no gaps.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 12:30 PM
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I know many Americans who grew up in another country speaking no English as a child but now speak flawlessly and then there are others like Kissinger who have a heavy accent after what 50-60 years here?
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 12:53 PM
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IME, some people are just better at languages than others, which means not only better at learning the structure but also better at pronunciation. I saw this in my family: some were fluent, others were fluent with a heavy accent, others struggled on all fronts.

It's like having an ear for music, maybe?
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 04:02 PM
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Agree that learning languages is often a talent - much easier for some people than others.

I didn;t enjoy learning Spanish - since we did it with books and grammar - and I don't even know grammar in English. Learned french via conversation - didn't do lesson # 1 in writing until we were in lesson 11 orally. I enjoyed this much more and found it a LOT easier -probably since I already knew some Spanish - but also because IMHO this system gets you deep into the language sooner.

But I have found that I can also bumble along in Germanic languages - never studied them - but there are so many links to english that it is easy to intuit a lot. Now - I can;t hold a conversation in Germanic languages - but can get along on a tourist level.

But I can hold simple conversations in French - not bad for studying it for 2 years more than 30 years ago. I've found that when in the country and surrounded by the language it comes flooding back - I guess the rolodex just moves a lot faster when faced by need.

What;s interesting is that my dad - who grew up in a house with 2 german born grandparents was never able to learn much of anything of it in school - I picked up much more just traveling.

And I think this is just the difference for someone for whom foreign languages are easy versus a mystery.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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It is both a strength and weakness of the US of being isolated geographically from much of the world. And we have the longest border in the world with Canada without a military presence.

And as a nation of immigrants, it was imperative to learn English as way to earn a living and to help their children in school. For my grandparents learning English was also a sign of assimilation and in many ways intelligence, that they could learn another language.

And there are variations. My FIL was born in Galicia, Spain and one SIL was Puerto Rican and they looked to use to translate.

My very good friends were both born in the United States but one spoke Mandarin with his family and she spoke Cantonese. The kids speak a little of both, but it was odd situation with the nanny who only spoke Cantonese, so she could not communicate with the father.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 07:43 AM
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And there are different aspects of language. I find it easy to learn to read a foreign language, practically impossible to understand what foreigners say to me. Many people are the opposite.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 08:32 AM
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It is both a strength and weakness of the US of being isolated geographically from much of the world. And we have the longest border in the world with Canada without a military presence.>

You forget that many millions of Americans speak Spanish as their lingua franca and everywhere there are signs in both Spanish and English - like 'slippery floor' signs - we are mucn more bi-lingual than many countries and getting more so.

Like when you call a company "Press 1 for English" as I often get.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 10:31 AM
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<practically impossible to understand what foreigners say to me.>
I find this really hard, too, especially out of context, and especially if they don't realize, at first, that I am a foreigner and therefore speak quickly and idiomatically. Frankly, it's embarrassingly hard for me even when they slow down!
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Old Nov 24th, 2014, 07:50 PM
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the northern part, yes. Southern, hmm, well, no.

Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy or even France, I got problems with speaking English = .=
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Old Nov 24th, 2014, 08:33 PM
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The people you refer to Plaenq are not natural born American citizens who need to know PRECAUCION RESBALOSO CUANDO ESTA MOJADO.
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Old Nov 25th, 2014, 08:18 PM
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A few years ago South Carolina declared English the official language of
this fine state.I like this because many Americans have been forced to learn Spanish,if they want to compete in the work force.

Spanish would not have been my first choice to be fluent in.It would have been German and French.
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Old Nov 25th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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I am sorry if my last post sounds anti-spanish. Its not,really it is anti-corperate and bogus unemployment statistics.The middle class has been hit hard since 1995 and fast tracking of NAFTA.
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Old Nov 25th, 2014, 09:28 PM
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<i>I like this because many Americans have been forced to learn Spanish,if they want to compete in the work force.</i>

Which work force is that exactly? Landscaping, housekeeping, food service, construction, or customer service?
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Old Nov 25th, 2014, 10:23 PM
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A few years ago South Carolina declared English the official language of this fine state.
_______
Don't they also still fly the Confederate flag at the Statehouse? And their governor Republican Nikki Haley defended the Confederate flag’s presence on South Carolina’s statehouse grounds, declaring that the flag isn’t an issue because “not a single CEO” has complained about it.
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Old Nov 25th, 2014, 10:26 PM
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I find it interesting and sometimes amusing which other language(s) either private businesses or governments use for communication.

I am currently in Berlin, and last week I noticed a cafe next door to the KaDeWe department store which has notes on the door that their restrooms are for customers only - in German and Mandarin.
Many touristy sites or eateries have added Spanish as their 3rd langauge, after German and English.
Kreuzberg's SO36 neighborhood, which has become very popular with the international hipster crowd, features many eateries where the menu is now in English only.
For official communications, e.g. on warning signs at power substations "Do not enter. Danger of electrical shock.", the Berlin city government uses German, Turkish, Polish and Vietnamese.

Personally, I find this diversity enriching and would not know if fluency in English alone (in non-English speaking countries) was such a sign of diversity and worldliness - as convenient as that may be for visitors from English-speaking countries.
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Old Nov 25th, 2014, 10:45 PM
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I noticed this morning that the back exit on the bus was labeled in German, English, Turkish, and Russian.
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