Off topic: A linguist's confession: I have underestimated how well foreigners speak English
Thread poster: George Trail

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:32
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
May 15, 2010

I may have the language skills necessary to impress many a person with my general translation product, but I feel I have underestimated how well foreigners really do speak English, even with years of studying and experiencing foreign languages. Years ago I, by chance, saw some Dutch woman on TV talking in English that was so good even I wouldn't have guessed that she wasn't English. I also think of Garry Kasparov, who displayed similar talent during an interview on some morning television TV show.



Maybe I shouldn't be too surprised. After all, English is the third most widely spoken language in the world (according to Ethnologue) - the first foreign language of countries all over the world as well as the mother tongue of the USA and Canada, Great Britain and Australia among other places. English is the language of international shipping (I was told this directly by a guy called Steve who works for a shipping company in Whitby). And then there's anglophone popular culture; such as that of the famed music group Nightwish.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POLD0gfSETI In this interview, Anette Olzon, who is Swedish (even though Nightwish is Finnish in origin) doesn't just speak English well, does she? Her accent aside, one thing that did catch me is that if you listen carefully, she keeps saying, "like". As in, "He was like, 'blah blah blah' ".



Maybe I should visit more blogs hosted on foreign servers.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-05-16 12:22 GMT]


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 13:32
English to Czech
+ ...
Visiting blogs May 16, 2010

George Trail wrote:
Maybe I should visit more blogs hosted on foreign servers.


The key message here is "I should visit more BLOGS." This is NOT a blogging site and I am urging you to stop spamming here and on TC immediately.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
The French Finance Minister May 16, 2010

Has anyone heard the French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, being interviewed in English? She's quite brilliant, and very charming too. I doubt that George Osborne (our new equivalent - Chancellor of the Exchequeur) can speak French half as well - or any British politician, for that matter. Shame on us and bravo, Christine!
Jenny


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:32
Member
Italian to English
Prejudices May 16, 2010

George you seem rather prejudiced against non-native speakers of English; why should you automatically assume they will not speak English well?

Your tone strikes me as a little arrogant - I hope the Dutch lady you describe in your post will never recognise herself in your reference to her as "some Dutch woman".

I suggest you take a good critical look at your writing style before asking yourself why you have so few visitors to your blog.


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
Italian to English
+ ...
Linguist May 16, 2010

Trade Description's Act anyone? George, please be aware that potential clients can track you here and you are not doing yourself any favours.

'English is the language of international shipping (I was told this directly by a guy called Steve who works for a shipping company in Whitby)' - good to see academic research featured here.

Good luck, George and remember this is an open forum

Suzi


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Poster removed original content and requested that the post should be deleted

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:32
Spanish to English
This is a forum not a blog May 18, 2010

Please respect.

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