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Old 22.02.2012, 10:59
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Despite spending more on teaching the language than the top four countries, Switzerland ranked only eleventh in an international survey comparing English proficiency levels among adults.

Read the full article: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind
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Old 22.02.2012, 12:29
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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Despite spending more on teaching the language than the top four countries, Switzerland ranked only eleventh in an international survey comparing English proficiency levels among adults.

Read the full article: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind
seems like normal value for schweizer qualitaet!
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Old 22.02.2012, 12:36
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

I love the bit about having to learn a Second language (French) as being part of the reason. Kids in the Nordics, e.g. Finland, have to learn Finnish and Swedish, often pick English as their third and many also pick up a fourth or fifth without a problem.
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Old 22.02.2012, 19:16
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

I think what Switzerland needs to do is actually bring English in the system. I mean although they might be spending lot of money over teaching English in schools. However the questions they should pose themselves is whether they use English language on daily basis. Look around e.g. sign boards, hoardings, advertisements, and in general use of english in public places...You will agree that English is very limited is use...So unless Swiss brings english into the system, I doubt it is not going to improve...
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Old 22.02.2012, 19:20
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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I love the bit about having to learn a Second language (French) as being part of the reason. Kids in the Nordics, e.g. Finland, have to learn Finnish and Swedish, often pick English as their third and many also pick up a fourth or fifth without a problem.
I dunno, French and German are pretty different. From what I understand, the nordic languages are pretty similar, though maybe Finnish is kinda weird from what I've heard.

Anyway - maybe they could try subtitling TV instead of dubbing? That works well for the Dutch. Whatever the case, I think the English here is just fine, I was only suggesting this if they want to improve it.
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Old 22.02.2012, 19:26
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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Despite spending more on teaching the language than the top four countries, Switzerland ranked only eleventh in an international survey comparing English proficiency levels among adults.

Read the full article: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind
The Local has managed to post an article that was in regular newspapers today

Congratulations!
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Old 22.02.2012, 19:27
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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I dunno, French and German are pretty different. From what I understand, the nordic languages are pretty similar, though maybe Finnish is kinda weird from what I've heard.
It's beyond weird, it's not even in the same language family, i.e. not Indo-European, but Fenno-Ugric. Save for loan words, you haven't a prayer of reading anything without first knowing the rules for the extreme inflection and the root words (meaning unlike English, you can't just go to the dictionary and look up words since letters actually change and disappear depending on the rules). It's closest relatives are Hungarian and Estonian.
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Old 22.02.2012, 19:28
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blurg typical media response to an education problem. Spending more money on education doesn't lead to better results. I'd be interested in an indepth qualitative analysis comparing classroom practices between the countries.

Also I saw the tables in the 20 minute and the difference between 7 and 13th was so marginal! Also the Scandanavians always top tables - it is their job!

Also it is a survey of Adults, any new investments in the last decades wouldn't accurately be represented. A better survey would be amongst school leavers or university leavers.

Last edited by MusicChick; 24.02.2012 at 14:52. Reason: merging consecutive posts
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Old 22.02.2012, 19:50
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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It's beyond weird, it's not even in the same language family, i.e. not Indo-European, but Fenno-Ugric. Save for loan words, you haven't a prayer of reading anything without first knowing the rules for the extreme inflection and the root words (meaning unlike English, you can't just go to the dictionary and look up words since letters actually change and disappear depending on the rules). It's closest relatives are Hungarian and Estonian.
Yeah, I heard that from a Hungarian - that the languages are similar. Strange, I wonder how it ended up that way.

Like you said, most Finns I know are fluent in Finnish, Swedish, English, and something else, typically. Cool and extremely bright people.
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Old 22.02.2012, 20:11
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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Yeah, I heard that from a Hungarian - that the languages are similar. Strange, I wonder how it ended up that way.

Like you said, most Finns I know are fluent in Finnish, Swedish, English, and something else, typically. Cool and extremely bright people.
There are a number of studies as to both the origin of the people as well as the language itself, though there's not a lot of consensus on either. Let's just say they're neither Swedish nor Russian (the Finns around will get that particular bit of humor) . And, yes, they are very bright...afterall, I married one, but even the ones who aren't all that bright, what makes up for it is a culture driven by a value for education. It's changing a bit now, but the top choice of career almost every year when the Helsinki paper surveys school kids is...school teacher. Every year on Mayday, it's an interesting ritual to watch them all head for the park, beers in tow, with their caps on to display their matriculation levels (tassels are tops).

I think that a lot of Swiss (along with their big-4 brethren) just don't get a lot of exposure to English early on due to the dubbing/translation and, so, don't value it until it's a bit late to really learn it fluently.
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Old 22.02.2012, 21:09
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

Maybe I'm a bit lost here, but I can't see how this two studies are connected with each other. I'm sure I spend much more money on bread than the average Pole. But I guess it's clear to everyone that I have to pay for higher costs of production/living expenses and no one would expect that I eat more or better bread than the Polish. But everywhere I look, it seems that I'm the only one who's bothered by that. Am I missing something?
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Old 22.02.2012, 21:15
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

What? No one has complained about the ironically stilted English thread title?
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Old 22.02.2012, 21:19
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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What? No one has complained about the ironically stilted English thread title?
I just understood that they do this spending while under the influence.
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Old 22.02.2012, 21:46
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

Obviously the Swiss do not seem to score well compared to the generally excellent foreign language abilities of native English speakers
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Old 22.02.2012, 22:08
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

Tractor Queen from the US, you wanna share why you groaned me? I'm reasonably fluent in Finnish with a Finnish husband so...I'd like an explanation for the drive-by groaning.
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Old 23.02.2012, 12:04
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

I'd have to agree with the dubbing of tv making a huge difference. My girlfriend whose level of english was quite basic when we met has already improved a lot with both vocab and understanding since we watch subtitled english shows.

That said I find the overall level of english among students to be fairly high. That said, in Ireland if anyone can speak a second language it's considered a minor miracle.
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Old 23.02.2012, 12:41
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isnt it also because the nordics have, due to their geographical proximity to the UK, British media on the airwaves? I thought you could watch british tv in Norway? it would make sense the nordics would be better at english than the swiss, theyre closer to them and have closer historical connections as well.

Besides, the Swiss are still learning Hochdeutsch as their first foreign language, which they do admirably. I would say most german swiss are trilingual: dialect, hoch, then usually english. most of my colleagues at one point learned french to a certain degree as well.

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Tractor Queen from the US, you wanna share why you groaned me? I'm reasonably fluent in Finnish with a Finnish husband so...I'd like an explanation for the drive-by groaning.

lol!

"drive by groaning". i like that!

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I'd have to agree with the dubbing of tv making a huge difference. My girlfriend whose level of english was quite basic when we met has already improved a lot with both vocab and understanding since we watch subtitled english shows.

That said I find the overall level of english among students to be fairly high. That said, in Ireland if anyone can speak a second language it's considered a minor miracle.

i do not mean to sound snarcy when i say this, but, doesnt irish count? most of the irish i know (granted not thaaaaat many) speak at least, uh, decent / conversational irish in addition to english.

and the only person ive ever met who has completely mastered the oberbayerisch dialect of german who wasnt a native german speaker was also irish.

Last edited by MusicChick; 24.02.2012 at 14:53. Reason: merging consecutive posts
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Old 23.02.2012, 12:50
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

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I think what Switzerland needs to do is actually bring English in the system. I mean although they might be spending lot of money over teaching English in schools. However the questions they should pose themselves is whether they use English language on daily basis. Look around e.g. sign boards, hoardings, advertisements, and in general use of english in public places...You will agree that English is very limited is use...So unless Swiss brings english into the system, I doubt it is not going to improve...
Another language on the already multilingual signs? Not a good idea.

Anyway, I was in Texas last year and most of the signs in public places are bilingual English and Spanish. Yet not that many people (othr than recent immigrants) speak very much Spanish. So it doesn't work.
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Old 23.02.2012, 14:23
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

I agree with the comments about lack of exposure to the language. I certainly think we could improve, but it also has to be accepted that learning so many foreign languages (high German, French, English) is a struggle for the less linguistically talented.
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Old 23.02.2012, 14:51
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Re: Swiss spend high on English but lag behind

Most of the Swiss I know speak English very well. I have never had problems in finding an English speaking shop assistant or whatever. Don't believe what all the pseudo-studies say. That is not to say I have not noticed how well Scandinavians are at foreign languages.
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