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Old 03.11.2015, 21:01
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Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

I certainly don't think that CH is that "bad", and for sure much better than other countries which are ranked higher on the list, but since I am not a native speaker I cannot really judge, but what do you english natives speakers of EF think? Is the list more or less correct?

WORLD RANKING
01 Sweden
02 Netherlands
03 Denmark
04 Norway
05 Finland
06 Slovenia
07 Estonia
08 Luxembourg
09 Poland
10 Austria
11 Germany
12 Singapore
13 Portugal
14 Malaysia
15 Argentina
16 Romania
17 Belgium
18 Czech Republic
19 Switzerland
20 India

http://www.thelocal.ch/20151103/swit...h-skills-study
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Old 03.11.2015, 21:10
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

I cannot compare Switzerland with other countries but the thing I notice here is the number of mistakes in English texts (not typos). Thousands of native English speakers who could be asked to glance at the stuff but presumably the Swiss (or whoever prints it) are so convinced that they are right that they don't need to ask. This attitude won't do anything to improve their command of English.
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Old 03.11.2015, 21:27
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

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I certainly don't think that CH is that "bad", and for sure much better than other countries which are ranked higher on the list, but since I am not a native speaker I cannot really judge, but what do you english natives speakers of EF think? Is the list more or less correct?

WORLD RANKING
01 Sweden
02 Netherlands
03 Denmark
04 Norway
05 Finland
06 Slovenia
07 Estonia
08 Luxembourg
09 Poland
10 Austria
11 Germany
12 Singapore
13 Portugal
14 Malaysia
15 Argentina
16 Romania
17 Belgium
18 Czech Republic
19 Switzerland
20 India

http://www.thelocal.ch/20151103/swit...h-skills-study
Singapore and India are the only English speaking countries in the list.
This means that English and American people aren't even proficient in their own language
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Old 03.11.2015, 21:28
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

It's pretty correct. There are too many I have met, who "don't need to learn". Anything. I think this attitude in skills and competence acquisition is slowly changing, though.

On the other hand - people are busy learning the other federal languages here, while this situ often doesn't exist in those countries mentioned on the list.
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Old 03.11.2015, 21:34
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

I blame the foreigners - especially the Americans, Australians, Kiwis, Saffers and probably most of all, the Brits...

...ducks for cover...


More seriously, the challenge remains that English is easy to learn and difficult to master. You can communicate relatively easily with bad English, and what with the lack of genders, speaking it is "relatively" easy... once you get past Leicester and Worcester. Added to which, because most people are regularly exposed to English from a variety of sources (see above) you get variations that compound the issue.

Last edited by Carlos R; 03.11.2015 at 22:02.
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Old 03.11.2015, 21:36
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

surprised Poland isn't higher seeing how many are in UK and Ireland or have been. Most young people i meet there are very good English speakers.
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Old 03.11.2015, 21:55
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

I wonder how the English would fare in a list of who speaks German/French/Italian?
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:08
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

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I wonder how the English would fare in a list of who speaks German/French/Italian?
Seeing as how they are always patronized, probably waaaaaaayyyyy down.

Been trying to convince a UK colleague to get moving on his German but he continues to use English. OK, his choice but then he shouldn't complain when people use another language in front of him...
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:16
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

or the Americans you beat me to it Oldhand...

Not surprising really in a mainly rural country where all kids have to learn another national language first, and to a decent level to be able to progress to a higher class and academic streams, and then English as a 3rd language. In the UK, kids do not have to learn any foreign language beyond the age of 13- AT ALL. By the by - I know. For most kids in Romandie, learning German is still very much more useful and a priority for most going into vocational training and trades.
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:16
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

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I certainly don't think that CH is that "bad", and for sure much better than other countries which are ranked higher on the list, but since I am not a native speaker I cannot really judge, but what do you english natives speakers of EF think? Is the list more or less correct?

WORLD RANKING
01 Sweden
02 Netherlands
03 Denmark
04 Norway
05 Finland
06 Slovenia
07 Estonia
08 Luxembourg
09 Poland
10 Austria
11 Germany
12 Singapore
13 Portugal
14 Malaysia
15 Argentina
16 Romania
17 Belgium
18 Czech Republic
19 Switzerland
20 India

http://www.thelocal.ch/20151103/swit...h-skills-study
Odd, I don't see the US nor the UK on the list.

Tom
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:19
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

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More seriously, he challenge remains that English is easy to learn and difficult to master
Easy?

My wife took forever just to learn to pronounce 'squirrel'!

(and most Swiss I work with can't do it either, despite their level of English )

Tom
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:22
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

Crap, I was born in the US and have a hard time with rural. Squirrel is not easy either.
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:22
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

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More seriously, the challenge remains that English is easy to learn and difficult to master.
Absolutely true. English is like chess: the standard moves are easy to learn, but it's the ability to master the game that makes a player proficient.

EDIT: squirrel being the exception
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:24
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

I've never met an American yet who could pronounce squirrel properly.

How on earth can you make a monosyllabic word out of that?!
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:28
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

How we do in in Pittsburgh - skwearl.

But I think in the south, they add syllables.
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:47
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

In my small town I am always surprised how many speak english really well but always say that their skills are poor....
Sometimes a english word though has a different meaning - I remember years ago a friend discussing a mutual acquaintance describing them as really 'Special" but this was not special as an english native would describe but more of a pain in the butt....

I know some Swiss whose skills are far superior to some english -
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:52
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

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I've never met an American yet who could pronounce squirrel properly.

How on earth can you make a monosyllabic word out of that?!
Mirror is another classic. Usually comes out something like Mirrrr. First time I came across it was when we had an American physics teacher on an exchange program for a term - I must have been around 13 or so, and the main topic on the syllabus at that time was optics. You know, light rays, lenses, and of course mirrrs. I swear it was three lessons in before any of us worked out what the fsk he was talking about
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:52
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

I think more Swiss people speak English than let on or admit to it. You always get this "a little bit" thing from them. I guess it's the fear of making a mistake or saying something wrong that is ingrained in them from little on.
With that said, there's no shortage of people happy to "practice" English or listen to a native English speaker speak.
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Old 03.11.2015, 22:57
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

There are some errors which occur with non-natives as well as with natives, which pop up all over the place (online and offline).

I'll never understand why natives can't grasp the following issue:

You're/they're/we're = you are/they are/we are
"Your" and "Their" indicate possession

There = not here
Were = not "we are"

"You are" and "They are" and "We are" do not indicate possession!

"You're green bottle" doesn't make sense if you're referring to a person, unless you want to say that that person IS a bottle. Even if so, you'd have to include an "a" in front of the word "green" for the sentence to be grammatically correct.
"Your a football player" doesn't make sense either. My a?
"There my bottles". Where my bottles?
"Their my bottles". Whose bottles are we talking about, yours or theirs?
"Were eating dinner". So dinner's over rather than happening right now...


Last edited by glowjupiter; 03.11.2015 at 23:04. Reason: extension
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Old 03.11.2015, 23:10
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Re: Switzerland falls behind in English skills...

So basically, starting English before French in school doesn't work. That was a lot of noise for nothing.
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