what asian race speaks English fluently?

debbie   Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:57 pm GMT
What's the best Asian country to go to wherein people speak good English? A country that would let me just walk around and enjoy.
K. T.   Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:55 pm GMT
Singapore. Unless you chew gum.
Jasper   Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:56 pm GMT
Did you know that the Phillippines is the second-largest English-speaking country in the world?
furrykef   Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:02 pm GMT
Careful there. That's a question of nationality, not race. "Race" implies it may have something to do with their skin color, rather than their language and culture!

Anyway, to answer the question, my guess -- only a guess! -- is that Hong Kong would be your best bet. But it also depends on what you consider "Asian"... India is in Asia, but people often mean East Asia when they say Asia, which doesn't include India.

My understanding is that most people in India speak Indian English, a dialect with some strong influence from Hindi, and they probably speak it with accents that seem very thick to native English speakers in other countries. The same is probably true of most Hong Kong English... I have no idea which dialect would be "better" or "worse" from my perspective.

The truth of the matter is that most would-be foreign language learners are lazy -- this goes for every country -- and many of those who aren't lazy aren't put in the right environment for them. While some individuals may excel, most will not. So it's relatively uncommon for a language to be spoken fluently (as perceived by native speakers from the main countries that speak the language) in areas that are dominated by another language.

- Kef
K. T.   Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:37 pm GMT
Kef, have you been to Hong Kong? I've been there and I thought that while English will work, it isn't as prevalent as it is in Singapore. I haven't been to Singapore, but we have friends who "love" the place and they aren't really fluent in any language except English.
K. T.   Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:39 pm GMT
Did you know that the Phillippines is the second-largest English-speaking country in the world?

I forgot about the Phillipines. I wonder how safe it is now, though. I think the poster wants a safe, English-speaking haven. I wonder why.
K. T.   Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:40 pm GMT
"The truth of the matter is that most would-be foreign language learners are lazy --"

Yep, this is true.
Vinza   Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:47 am GMT
I think the best way to just walk around and 'enjoy' for a native speaker of English in a non-English (or English as the second language) environment would be the following:

1- Try and learn some basic vocab of the local language of the place you plan to visit.

2- Come to terms with reality. That is, there are other languages that exist in this world besides English.

3- Do non-native English speakers ask such question when they visit countries like U.S.A, Canada, England? It should be the same for native English speakers when they visit non-English speaking countries.
K. T.   Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:16 am GMT
Maybe it should be that way, Vinza (and I try to do just what you suggested), but English IS the international language and sometimes people who speak another language think that English and another language should be enough as well.

I remember a European businessman shouting in a Spanish hotel, "I speak (Language X) and ENGLISH only. No SPANISH!"
Native Korean   Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:19 am GMT
I don't think I can pick one country that speaks English best but the answer would be Philippines, Singapore or Hong Kong.

English is one of the official lanugages in those countries and they start learning English at a really young age.

From my understanding, people in the country side of Philippines hardly speak English though.
Matt   Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:25 am GMT
Well, I've been to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos and I had very little trouble communicating in English. A lot of people in these countries have a decent knowledge of the English language.
loose cannon   Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:25 am GMT
<<Singapore. Unless you chew gum. >>

Then why do many Singaporeans speak "Singlish"? Singlish is non-standard English. It is English mixed with Chinese expressions or words. For example: lah, liau, mah, woh etc...

Singapore would have been officially named an English-speaking country if it weren't for Singlish.

However many Singaporeans speak good or perfect English, at least technically correct.
And some Malaysians especially in Kuala Lumpur speak similar English to Singaporeans.

My opinion of the best English speaking Asian country (in order):
1. India (has many American call centers) - natively correct english
2. Singapore - technically correct english but sometimes may not be natively correct
3. Philippines (has many American call centers)
4. Hong Kong