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Old 04-16-2016, 07:14 PM
 
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Is it just me or do Koreans speak the most fluent English out of the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese? Well, the ones that can speak it anyway. I've heard Korean colleagues, air hostesses, uni friends etc. I noticed Chinese people who have studied English religiously and also who have done a stint overseas can't seem to get the same level of fluency as Koreans? Could it be perhaps that Chinese has tones?

Surprisingly the Japanese language which I find in theory, closest to English sounding, the people speak really poor English whilst visiting Tokyo. I think Japanese were too insular and whilst they ruled economically for a while during the 80s and 90s, they seemed to think there was no need to study English? Korea wedged in the middle seems to see the urgency and need to do so.

Oddly places like Hong Kong and Singapore where they were mostly ruled by the British speak poor English or in the case of Singapore, whilst grammatically correct and fluent seems to have a heavy and annoying accent. The same pretty much goes for the Indians, Filipinos and Malaysians all of whom are fluent in English.

The thing about Chinese people's English is that they seem to break English words into syllables, stress it and add a bloody tone to the thing...Koreans somehow can pronounce long words better and have no tones.

The only Chinese who I've met that are fluent in English seems to be those born/raised in an English speaking country.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:33 PM
 
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Koreans in South Korea generally avoid speaking English, particularly around native speakers and people perceived to be native speakers, unless they are very confident in their ability or are forced to (or they are very close to the individual). That may be part of the reason why Koreans who speak English but are not native speakers appear to speak the language so well, compared to some other nationalities.

Also, I always thought Korean was closer to English than Japanese, if only because Korean has a greater variety of sounds, like English, and both Korean and Japanese have the same sentence structure different from the one Mandarin and English shares. Though, unlike Mandarin, the majority, and main, dialects of Korean and Japanese lacks tone, like English.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:51 PM
 
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In America, Korean international students do not speak better English than Chinese students.
Too few Japanese students to compare.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,943 posts, read 36,139,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willister View Post
Is it just me or do Koreans speak the most fluent English out of the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese? Well, the ones that can speak it anyway. I've heard Korean colleagues, air hostesses, uni friends etc. I noticed Chinese people who have studied English religiously and also who have done a stint overseas can't seem to get the same level of fluency as Koreans? Could it be perhaps that Chinese has tones?

Surprisingly the Japanese language which I find in theory, closest to English sounding, the people speak really poor English whilst visiting Tokyo. I think Japanese were too insular and whilst they ruled economically for a while during the 80s and 90s, they seemed to think there was no need to study English? Korea wedged in the middle seems to see the urgency and need to do so.

Oddly places like Hong Kong and Singapore where they were mostly ruled by the British speak poor English or in the case of Singapore, whilst grammatically correct and fluent seems to have a heavy and annoying accent. The same pretty much goes for the Indians, Filipinos and Malaysians all of whom are fluent in English.

The thing about Chinese people's English is that they seem to break English words into syllables, stress it and add a bloody tone to the thing...Koreans somehow can pronounce long words better and have no tones.

The only Chinese who I've met that are fluent in English seems to be those born/raised in an English speaking country.
You should probably add "of Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese" in your title bar.

Koreans do speak English better than Japanese.

Chinese though? There are just too many of them, and way too many differences regionally. Some Chinese have never even been exposed to English at all. But to those that have, their wide range of tones, seems to also give them the ability to pronounce it a bit better than Koreans, I feel anyways. Plus, their grammar is most similar to English, which makes it easier for them to make a sentence.

Koreans add a lot of extra syllables to stuff. For example, BUS is a simple word, but Koreans will always say BUS-AHH giving the AHH just as strong of a pronunciation as BUS. Anyways it is far from perfect. It is better than Japanese though, and depending on the Chinese person, may or may not be better.
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Some Chinese have never even been exposed to English at all. But to those that have, their wide range of tones, seems to also give them the ability to pronounce it a bit better than Koreans, I feel anyways. Plus, their grammar is most similar to English, which makes it easier for them to make a sentence.
I disagree about Chinese. I used to be an ESL teacher and most of my Korean and Japanese students were at least intelligible, if sometimes halting. Chinese students, even those who had lived in the US for years, can be incredibly hard to understand. They tend to speak very quickly in machine-gun style, as though each syllable were a separate word.

In general, I don't think English grammar is particularly easy for any of these students. Chinese and English are both Subject-Verb-Object languages, while Japanese and Korean are not. I'm not sure how much of an advantage that really is. It definitely becomes obvious that Chinese has no grammatical inflections, while Japanese and Korean do. Since Chinese speakers are not used to changing any words to make them plural or past/future tense, etc., they tend to just leave all those endings off.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Around the UK!
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I suppose some do and then some don't.

I know a number of Chinese and Japanese who speak excellent English and a number who don't! Ditto with Koreans.

Also I think that it makes a massive difference at what age they learned to speak English, where they have lived and their own personal aptitudes.
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by saibot View Post
I disagree about Chinese. I used to be an ESL teacher and most of my Korean and Japanese students were at least intelligible, if sometimes halting. Chinese students, even those who had lived in the US for years, can be incredibly hard to understand. They tend to speak very quickly in machine-gun style, as though each syllable were a separate word.

In general, I don't think English grammar is particularly easy for any of these students. Chinese and English are both Subject-Verb-Object languages, while Japanese and Korean are not. I'm not sure how much of an advantage that really is. It definitely becomes obvious that Chinese has no grammatical inflections, while Japanese and Korean do. Since Chinese speakers are not used to changing any words to make them plural or past/future tense, etc., they tend to just leave all those endings off.
I think purely from a basic form point of a view it is probably easier to transition from Korean to English then probably Japanese to English. There are just too many differences between Chinese and English...about the only thing in common is word structure - SVO, but even that there are differences and exceptions amongst both that the similarity advantage is eroded away.


The biggest hurdle I find in Chinese students adapting to English is the struggle to pronounce longer words - their tactic basically seems to chop up words in to syllables but since Chinese is so short, they often can't string it together or it just sounds weird. Added to this is tones, they seem to put a tone onto every word. Lastly probably grammar


Honestly I have witnessed more Korean students who are better at English after a shorter stint in a English speaking country than their Chinese or Japanese peers. They somehow just have better pronunciation and grammar.
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by willister View Post
I think purely from a basic form point of a view it is probably easier to transition from Korean to English then probably Japanese to English. There are just too many differences between Chinese and English...about the only thing in common is word structure - SVO, but even that there are differences and exceptions amongst both that the similarity advantage is eroded away.


The biggest hurdle I find in Chinese students adapting to English is the struggle to pronounce longer words - their tactic basically seems to chop up words in to syllables but since Chinese is so short, they often can't string it together or it just sounds weird. Added to this is tones, they seem to put a tone onto every word. Lastly probably grammar


Honestly I have witnessed more Korean students who are better at English after a shorter stint in a English speaking country than their Chinese or Japanese peers. They somehow just have better pronunciation and grammar.
Many Chinese students you saw were from the countryside when they were young, and their English teachers could not pronounce the words either.
It would be more appropriate to compare Chinese students from bigger cities with Korean and Japanese students, IF you want to eliminate that factor.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:14 AM
 
276 posts, read 204,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yueng-ling View Post
Many Chinese students you saw were from the countryside when they were young, and their English teachers could not pronounce the words either.
It would be more appropriate to compare Chinese students from bigger cities with Korean and Japanese students, IF you want to eliminate that factor.

Err no. I also know a fair share of people from Hong Kong, Singapore etc.


Even if you compare Singaporeans who speak fluent English, it is heavily accented. They just can't seem to get the accent right...


I'm not saying one ethic group is superior to the other, but rather the structure of the Chinese language seems to hinder pronunciation of English words and due to the lack of Chinese grammar, many students find it difficult to grasp that concept.


Korea is a small country and sees English as a "valuable" language to do business and open up to the outside world, hence, they study it pretty well.
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Old 04-18-2016, 02:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willister View Post
Err no. I also know a fair share of people from Hong Kong, Singapore etc.


Even if you compare Singaporeans who speak fluent English, it is heavily accented. They just can't seem to get the accent right...


I'm not saying one ethic group is superior to the other, but rather the structure of the Chinese language seems to hinder pronunciation of English words and due to the lack of Chinese grammar, many students find it difficult to grasp that concept.


Korea is a small country and sees English as a "valuable" language to do business and open up to the outside world, hence, they study it pretty well.
I was just talking about economic reasons, and the education quality behind that.

The phonology of Korean is very similar to some Chinese dialects (such as Cantonese), just without tones. And Korean has fewer consonants than Mandarin (though the syllable structure is richer than Mandarin). So I do not think the phonology of Korean helps them.
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