Err, it's kinda our first language, English that is. In fact, alot of Chinese in Singapore speak terrible Chinese... Haha, like me.
Dian, not true Singaporeans don't make mistakes. Our government likes to hold "Speak Good English" campaigns because of the horrendous Singlish. But I think Singlish is fun as long as you can switch comfortably to standard english when the need arises.
I want to know about Pakistanis.Do you think they speak good English?.Before 1947 pakistan was also a part of united india which stayed under British rule.Althogh pakistan is not so big as India,still we have some good schools whose standard of education is quite hgh and special attention is paid to conversational English.please give your opinion.
In my opinion, I am also living in the Asia region, the persons who come from India, Malaysia, and Singapore are the best for their English.
Yep, I'm from the Asian regions too...thanks for your comment, Dian. I think in Malaysia, we have an equal balance of proficiency...that said, there are some who speaks English like its their own mother tounge, some who could understand English but speak in a "spattered" form (aka Manglish,know or not?^-^) and some who barely understand it, let alone speak it. But fomral English is a different story altogether.
India? The quality varies a LOT, to my experience; I've known Indians with good (ie, easy to understand) accents, and I've also known plenty with really painful accents. That even includes people who started learning when they were very young. I had a great friend from India while I was in grad school who had spoken English all his life -- barely knew any Hindi -- but his accent was so bad that EVERYONE (except other indian students) who had a conversation with him had to ask, "What? What?" every couple of sentences. The man essentially had no native language! How strange.
Back to the original question, I think I'd go along with the people who are saying German and Dutch.
But really, for any given country the variance is enormous, and it's hard to get a sense of what the "average" ability is.
I think one of countries in the world that fail to educate their people to learn English is Indonesia. Most Indonesians are not able to speak English, even though English is formally taught since the junior high school. After learning English for six years, when they graduate from senior high school, they can not speak English. Most schools in Indonesia educate students to memorize grammar pattern.
Simon, if you still come here, I did get your joke. It was the skit ;-P
Malaysia is a multi-racial country with not a single language to communicate to everyone since one race do not speak of another race's language, eg. Chinese descent do not speak Hindi (Indian language). The British have colonised us since the 18th century and left a legacy of their language, English which is now the only "living language" in this country.
In the capital, KL, everyone speaks English or some form of English and personally, I have not met one who doesn't. English is the only medium of communication not only amongst mates but is the prevailing language in the city and most of the bigger states. I suppose education plays an important part as to having English language as a second language and most of us, Malaysians are educated in the UK, Australia, Canada and USA. (UK is always the prime choice but since the 1997 crisis, people have to cut back their finances and Australia is the second best option). I tend to believe the KLites (native folks born and bred in the capital of KL) speak English as their first language at home and somehow have neglected their own mother-tongue. (we're called the republicans of the banana). During the 1980s, there were still many convent schools that was operated by British and I went to one of them. Still remember my then English teacher, Ms Christine Parker.
Keep this flowing folks as long as it is in English! Cheers...Kelly
First, I speak with an accent. But Malaysian and Singaporean speak with accents too. Some of them speak wiht a very heavy accent.
I've met lots of people from Malaysia / Sing who speak beautiful English, the accent is not hard to understand.
I find that the Dutch speak English wonderfully. So very clear. I wonder if that has to do with the Germanic origins of their own language or an excellent education system.
I would say it is a little of both. The Scandinavians are also ones who speak English fluently from a very young age thanks to their school system.
This is one thing about the American school system that I do not like; they start teaching foreign languages much to late. Generally it is around the 9th grade (some schools start earlier, some later). I have some friends who took French or Spanish in the 7th grade, and I have some friends who did not have their first language class until the 11th grade!
I went to a private school where they teach Spanish beginning in third grade. Then in 7th grade you can switch to Latin or French (I switched to French). Now I am in high school in my fourth year of French. At my (public Californian) high school, you must take one of the following foreign languages: Japanese, Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, Russian, Hebrew, Korean, or Chinese.
That is great! But talk to a majority of people in America, and you will see that they know hardly any other languages except for English. And a lot of Americans will say that they took x amount of years in high school, but they forot it once they left the class room.
I am not saying that every single school in America starts teaching students a language too late, but I am saying that there are too many schools in America that do not start teaching a foreign language until high school (or at leat junior high).
It is difficult for American to learn a foreign language, because there is no need.
I doubt if anyone is interested in Cantonese, which is kind of useless.
Actually, how many people choose to learn Chinese? And Japanese?
The market of China will open gradually. Learn some Chinese if you want to take the chance.