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Old 02-03-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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I went to France a few yrs ago and I don't think I met a single person under the age of 40 that wasn't fluent, or at least conversational, in english. It seemed the same in Germany too. And And from an Americans point of view, folks from The Netherlands were easier to understand than the English themselves.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:39 PM
 
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There is nothing impressive, amazing, or even unusual about an interested Teutonic/Germanic-language speaker (e.g. German, Dutch, the various Scandinavian) learning another Teutonic/Germanic language, English.
I agree. I speak a little bit of German and find the languages to be quite similar.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by swisswife View Post
surely standard English is still BBC English ??
Not if you weigh by the numbers of people that speak it.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gottasay View Post
I agree. I speak a little bit of German and find the languages to be quite similar.
A good example. High German is considered the "standard" but no Germans speak it (except Hanoverians..). Very few people speak the "Queen's English" and might sound a bit odd and pretentious if they did in everyday life. I vote for mid-west American as the new "standard".
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by Bideshi View Post
Not if you weigh by the numbers of people that speak it.
So what happens when the number of English speakers in India outnumbers those of the United States, which could well happen soon? Does India become the standard-bearer for the English language?
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by paull805 View Post
yeah its amazing how many dutch people who can speak good english
They are, after all, a very short boat ride away from England.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Drover View Post
So what happens when the number of English speakers in India outnumbers those of the United States, which could well happen soon? Does India become the standard-bearer for the English language?
If they pass the US as an economic power that could certainly happen (just as the US could become Spanish speaking). The national language of India is Hindi, however. It was English until independence, but nationalistic fervor under Nehru pushed for a new national language.

I am always amused at Indian-English'isms' such as a soccer match being "pre-poned" to an earlier start.

An educated Indian actually speaks better English than the average American. Their schools are better, students really try to learn, and parents push them to give their very best effort.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by Bideshi View Post
If they pass the US as an economic power that could certainly happen (just as the US could become Spanish speaking). The national language of India is Hindi, however. It was English until independence, but nationalistic fervor under Nehru pushed for a new national language.
Well, that's a pretty huge shift of the goalposts. And Hindi is not "the" official language of India -- there are over a dozen official languages in India, English still among them and the second-most commonly spoken. And a lot of government, business and education is conducted in English because it's the least "regionalized" language in the country.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Drover View Post
Hindi is not "the" official language of India --
Languages of India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote: "The principal official language of India is standard Hindi".

English is the second language. My CD handle* should have given you a subtle hint as to my familiarity with the matter.



*bideshi – "[T]o denote foreigners in the (Hindi) dialect of Bengali

Last edited by Bideshi; 02-07-2011 at 02:04 AM..
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:24 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
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Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post
I am always incredibly impressed with Scandinavian people and the Dutch. Often I meet people who are undetectable as non Native English speakers.

I think a lot of it has to do with proper decent language education at school , English and American channels being easily available on TV and a certain natural aptitude, perhapbs because of course English is related linguistically speaking making it easier.
I agree. I've met many Scandinavians (particularly Danish) which are so comfortable with the English language they actually get most slang, humor and North American cultural references. I have a good friend here from Denmark and even though she'd only been here a few years when I asked her what language she thinks to herself in she replied "English". She said when she went home to visit her family she would switch back to thinking in Danish in a few days. Pretty amazing to a monolingual American!

I also have a coworker who's parents have been here since 1968 and still can't speak English. I won't say which ethnic group, but you can probably guess. Just seems hard to believe you can be immersed in an English speaking country for over 40 years and still can't take a telephone call from an English speaker.
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