Why are Germans among the worst speakers of English?
When I was in Stuttgart I was surprised at how many people spoke very good English. However they were not particular chatty. It was only if you asked them a direct question in English that they would reply in English.
People of my father's generation absolutely hate anything German. When I was in Poland, we were chatting to a Polish family and the father, a University lecturer, said that the sound of German make him feel sick.
So there is a lot of emotional baggage as they say. Stuttgart was flattened by the Americans during the war. In the Mercedes museum they are quite open about slave labour and how Mercedes benefited from its ties with Hitler. The amazing this is, that after the war, the slave labourers were replaced by immigrants from Southern Europe. There are brothels set up to cater for the workforce. Presumably, all paid for with American money and German loot that had been stashed away in Zurich.
English speakers are still relatively thin on the ground in the former East Germany, even among the younger generations. If you are travelling around Saxony and Brandenburg with any knowledge of German then you will certainly have communication problems at some point.
My god a university lecture/hate preacher said that! Know wonder Poland and it's people have always been considered backward and low IQed. It's so-called educated thinkers sound like pea-brained pieces of shit. Anyway, wish the Polish primitives would give back all that land they ethnically cleansed and stole off Germans. Poland's borders should shift off back 300 miles east and south. I have no idea how losers like France and Poland done so well territory wise after repeatedly getting their bitch arses kicked in wars.
I wish Cologne and Aachen had been given to Belgium after the ww2.
German people never learn they lessons well.
The OP is obviously way off the mark; although, I do know several native German speakers here in North America who struggle with English grammar and have thick accents, even after living here for 10-20 years. Does that mean Germans are the world's worst English speakers? Hardly! All foreign speakers of English have that same problem, unless they've made a very focused effort to improve.
Let's get this clear. German speakers, up until a certain level, speak very good English. Go to any German speaking country and they will speak it quite well.
But, the majority of them seem to experience a great deal of difficulty in mastering the English tense/aspect system.
If you speak to many German speakers, who have lived in an English speaking country for years, you will notice that they continue to use the simple form when they should use the continuous, and the continuous when they should use the simple.
This might seem a minor point of English grammar, but it's not when some one continuously mixes it up.
It makes them seem less competent than speakers of other languages, who while they might make mistakes, seem to make less fundamental mistakes.
Can you elaborate, perhaps with stock examples, what these typically German mistakes related to the "English tense/aspect system" sound like, and how they are different from speakers of other, less related, languages?
<<People of my father's generation absolutely hate anything German. When I was in Poland, we were chatting to a Polish family and the father, a University lecturer, said that the sound of German make him feel sick. >>
Absolutely hating of anything German is heavy sickness.
Perhaps those "people of my father's generation" don't know,that Philipp Rösler's and David McAllister's native language is German?
The reason why Germans speak worse English than the Dutch and Scandinavian countries is because the Germans dubb all their movies into German.
They don't subtitle their movies like the Dutch do. When you subtitle your movies, the Dutch speaker will have to listen to the original English voices and so get use to the English language.
The Germans unlike the Dutch are too proud to subtitle their movies. And good for them. German is the biggest language (mother tongue) speakers in Europe. They don't need to subtitle their langauge. German is also one of only 3 working language in the European Union.
Basically the Germans don't NEED English. Their language is strong enough. So the question should rather be why can't English speakers speak any German??
<<The reason why Germans speak worse English than the Dutch and Scandinavian countries is because the Germans dubb all their movies into German>>
Well it's not simply down to that, although I take your point that if you have some ability in a language, then watching movies helps you improve your knowledge.
<<Basically the Germans don't NEED English. Their language is strong enough. So the question should rather be why can't English speakers speak any German?? >>
I know British people who have spent years in Germany yet can barely speak German. To me, that is unacceptable. But then the Germans have to take some of the blame for this situation as they are obviously replying in English when they should be insisting that people in Germany should learn the language.
Well, if you listen to the speech that the German European Commissioner and ex-Prime Minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg delivered in December 2009 in Berlin, you will inevitably conclude that Germans indeed speak very bad English:
Oettinger Talking English - Worse than Westerwave
This recent speech of Mr. Oettinger, held before an important international audience in Berlin, is really a shame for a German European Commissioner and ex-Prime Minister, especially considering that he demands that all Germans (regardless of their education level) speak good English.
And we'd better not talk about the miserable English of the present German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle. We are all asking ourselves on what grounds those politicians (and many others) obtained the important positions they hold. They are a shame for all of us.
<<And we'd better not talk about the miserable English of the present German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle.>> Yes,let's talk about David Miliband's good knowledge of German.
Les Allemands ont un accent virtuellement neutre pour les autres langues.
Le jour où des anglophones pourront parler des langues étrangères aussi clairement que les Allemands, ils seront autorisés à se plaindre.
Dossier fermé. Terminé.
<<And we'd better not talk about the miserable English of the present German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle.>>
If there's one job that you don't need to know foreign languages, then it is President or Foreign Minister. Why? Because even if they do, they still use translators no matter what, because they can't afford misunderstandings. So why waste time learning it in the first place?
No matter how good their English gets, they are not going to be as good as the top, professional interpreters of their diplomatic service, who have dedicated their whole lives to learning languages, whereas the diplomat has dedicated his life to being a diplomat, not learning languages.
Successful people follow the KISS rule in other words (Keep It Simple Stupid).